Review of the Succession Act 1981

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) is conducting a review of the Succession Act 1981 (the Act), as it was enacted over 40 years ago and needs to be modernised to ensure it gives effect to modern community expectations with respect to succession law.

Targeted consultation with experts and stakeholders has identified key areas of reform, many of which relate to technical reforms and a proposed modernisation of the Act generally.

Public policy paper

We have developed a Public policy paper (PDF) (or DOCX) (the paper) which sets out some possible areas for reform in relation to intestacy entitlements and family provision applications, which are likely to be of interest to many Queenslanders.

Intestacy rules decide how your estate is distributed if you die without a valid will, or your will doesn’t dispose of all of your estate.

Persons entitled to benefit from the deceased person’s (intestate) estate can include a deceased person’s spouse, children, grandchildren, and other next of kin.

A deceased person’s spouse, children—including step-children—and some limited types of the deceased person's financial dependants may apply to the Supreme or District Court of Queensland if they:

  • don’t receive anything out of the deceased person’s estate, whether under a will or the rules of intestacy, or
  • don’t think they have been given enough to adequately provide for them out of the deceased person’s estate.

This is called a family provision application.

The Court then decides what (if anything) they are given out of the deceased person’s estate. If the Court gives them something, this is called a family provision order. When a family provision order is made, it alters the distribution of the deceased person’s estate under their will—or under the rules of intestacy—so the ordered provision is paid as a gift out of the deceased person’s estate.

We are seeking feedback on the issues identified in the paper including:

  • who can benefit from a deceased person’s estate through intestacy rules
  • the share of the estate these beneficiaries should receive
  • who should be eligible to make a family provision application from a deceased person’s estate.

Written submissions

We invite all Queenslanders to provide written submissions in response to the paper (PDF) (or DOCX).

You can send your written submissions to us by email at

Submissions close at 5pm on Monday 16 October 2023.

Your privacy

The Queensland Government is bound by the Information Privacy Act 2009—find out more by reading our privacy statement. Information provided in your submission may be collected by DJAG for the purpose of informing the Succession Act 1981 review. DJAG may contact you to request further information on the issues you raise in your submission, unless you tell us in your submission that you don’t want to be contacted. Your submission may also be published on DJAG’s website. If you would like your submission—or any part of it—to be treated as confidential, please indicate this clearly. Please note, however, that all submissions may be subject to disclosure under the Right to Information Act 2009.