What to do if someone dies without a Will

If someone dies without making a valid Will, they will be intestate. Some people think that their wishes will be applied even though they have no Will, but the intestacy laws and rules are complex and rarely lead to that outcome.

Our advice is always to make a Will to avoid costs, complications and distress to your next of kin after your death. If you die intestate:

  • Your property will be inherited according to intestacy laws; and
  • Instead of going to your chosen beneficiaries, it will go to other next of kin in a particular order.

Intestacy laws

If you die without a Will, leaving a spouse/civil partner but no children or remote descendants (e.g. grandchildren) surviving you, all your estate will be inherited by your spouse/civil partner.

If you leave a spouse/civil partner and also children or remote descendants (e.g. grandchildren) surviving you, your estate will be inherited as follows:

  • Your personal effects and a legacy (of £250,000 if you die before 6th February 2020 or £270,000 if you die on or after 6th February 2020) to your spouse/civil partner; and
  • The rest of your estate would pass 50% to your spouse/civil partner and 50% to your children equally.
  • If any of your children were to die before you, what would have been his or her share of your estate will be inherited by his or her own children.

If you don’t leave a spouse/civil partner surviving you, all your estate will be inherited by:

  • Your children or their descendants, if any of them have died before you, but if none then
  • Your parents, but if none then
  • Your full brothers and sisters or their descendants, if any of them have died before you, but if none then
  • Your half brothers and sisters or their descendants, if any of them have died before you, but if none then
  • Your grandparents, but if none then
  • Your full uncles and aunts or their descendants, if any of them have died before you, but if none then
  • Your half uncles and aunts or their descendants, if any of them have died before you, but if none then
  • The Crown.

How we can help

At Nelsons, our team of Wills and Probate experts in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham can help draft a Will to prevent you dying intestate, and can help if a loved one has died without leaving a Will.

For further information on making a Will or the laws regarding intestacy, please contact us today via our online enquiry form or call 0800 024 1976.

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