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What happens if I die without a Will?

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Making a Will ensures that your estate is distributed in the way that you want

 

Fact

  • In 2017, a study showed that a record 31 million people run the risk of having their Estate distributed according to Intestacy law, and not their wishes.

 

If you die without a Will in the UK, there are several questions that you might have about what will happen to your property, assets, and loved ones. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions to help you understand the complexities of dying without a Will and what happens in such a scenario.


What is a Will?


A Will is a legal document that outlines how you want your property and assets to be distributed after you die. It also specifies who you would like to act as your Executor/s (this is the person/s responsible for carrying out the terms of the Will) and, if needed, who should be appointed as Guardians for your children. A Will is a critical document that helps ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes.


What happens if I die without a Will?


If you die without a Will in the UK, the process of distributing your property and assets is known as "Intestacy." In this case, the laws of Intestacy, as set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925, will determine how your Estate is divided amongst your relatives.


Who inherits my property and assets under the laws of Intestacy?


The laws prioritises your spouse or civil partner and children, followed by other relatives in a specific order, such as parents, siblings, grandparents, and more distant relatives. If you have no surviving relatives, your Estate will pass to the Crown.


What happens to my children who are under 18 under the laws of Intestacy?


The Courts may appoint a Guardian for your children, but it's important to note that the person appointed may not be someone you would have chosen yourself.


Will my partner inherit my property and assets under the laws of Intestacy?


If you die without a Will in the UK and you are married or in a civil partnership, your spouse or civil partner will typically inherit the majority of your Estate. However, if you have children, your spouse or civil partner may only receive a portion of your Estate, with the rest going to your children. In some cases, your spouse or civil partner may not inherit anything if you have close relatives who have a higher claim to your Estate.


Can I still have a say in who inherits my property and assets if I die without a Will?


No, if you die without a Will, you will not have a say in who inherits your property and assets. The laws of Intestacy will determine how your estate is divided. This means that your assets may not be distributed in a way that aligns with your wishes, and your loved ones may not receive the support that you would have wanted.


Can I change the laws of Intestacy if I die without a Will?


Unfortunately, the laws of Intestacy cannot be changed, even if you die without a Will. This is why it's critical to create a Will, as it gives you the power to determine how your assets will be distributed after your death.


What can I include in my Will?


In your Will, you can specify who you would like to inherit your assets, how your assets will be divided, and who you would like to appoint as the Executor of your Estate. You can also specify who you would like to act as the Guardian for any minor children you may have and make funeral arrangements, including burial, cremation or leaving your body to medical science.


How do I make a Will?


Making a Will in the UK is a straightforward process bust best done with the help of a Solicitor. You can write your Will yourself, but it is recommended you seek the help of a professional to ensure that your Will is legally valid and meets your needs. The legal requirements for a valid Will are quite complex and a good Solicitor will help you avoid the pitfalls.


When should I make a Will?


It is recommended that you make a Will as soon as possible, especially if you have assets or dependents. Making a Will early in life can also make the process easier and less stressful for you and your loved ones. It is also important to update your Will periodically, especially if there are any changes in your life circumstances or if you want to make any changes to your wishes.


Help me make a Will


If you would like to instruct us to help you make a Will, we recommend you book a FREE initial consultation. You can do this by either calling us on 01686626210 or you can book online by clicking here.




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