A staggering number of Australians die each year leaving valuable property, but no will.
The figure is something like 40%.
In these circumstances, legislation in Victoria (and the other States) provides for a formula for distribution of the assets.
In Victoria, the major chunk goes to the widow/widower/partner. After that, if the Estate is large enough, step-children get a look-in.
If there are no immediate family members, then parents, brothers, sisters, cousins etc take as next of kin.
Claims against deceased estates (where there is no will) are routine.
In terms of will disputes, the courts have long treated claims (where there is no will) as if the deceased had made a will in accordance with the statutory formula.
About 20% of the claims handled by Constable Connor each year involve claims against deceased estates where there has been no will.