When a person dies “intestate”, this means that the person has died without leaving a valid Will. This has the effect that instead of a person’s estate being distributed pursuant to the Will, it will be distributed pursuant to the intestacy provisions of the Succession Act.
If the deceased has a spouse or children (and sometimes a person can have multiple spouses; for example if they are living in a defacto relationship and have never divorced their legal husband/wife) the estate will be divided between their spouse/s and their children.
If the children are minor children, it could end being the case that the childrens’ shares are held in trust, not by the spouse but by an institution such as the Public Trustee and the spouse will not necessarily have ready access to such monies for the payment of the necessary costs relating to the children’s upbringing. It is very important therefore to have a valid Will in place to ensure that family is cared for in the way you would want.