Dying without a Will - what happens to your estate

When a person dies without making a Will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’.

When this happens it is up to the law to stipulate a) who can administer their estate and b) who will benefit from the estate, in accordance with the Administration of Estates Act 1925.

Who will inherit the deceased’s estate?

If there is no Will, there are rules for deciding who will inherit the estate. It depends on the deceased’s personal circumstances.

If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership:

If the deceased had an estate worth £250,000 or less, then everything goes to the husband, wife or civil partner

If the deceased had an estate worth over £250,000, then the husband, wife or civil partner won’t automatically get everything.

They will receive:

  • personal items, such as household articles and cars, but nothing used for business purposes
  • £250,000 free of tax and the interest thereon (if there are no children)
  • One half share of any residue remaining
  • the remaining half share of the residue will be shared equally between the children of the deceased
  • if the deceased did not have any children then the surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit the entire estate

If there is no surviving spouse/civil partner

The estate is distributed as follows:

  • to surviving children in equal shares (or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
  • if there are no children, to parents (equally, if both alive)
  • if there are no surviving parents, to brothers and sisters or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive
  • if none of the above then to grandparents (equally if more than one)
  • if there are no grandparents to aunts and uncles (or their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
  • to the Crown if there are none of the above (through the Crown Solicitor’s Office)

If you were partners but weren’t married or civil partners you won’t automatically get a share of your partner’s estate.

If they haven’t provided for you in some other way, your only option is to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

To ensure that your family are cared for properly after you are gone, speak to us about our Fixed Fee Wills Service. We currently offer comprehensive single Wills from £270 (inc VAT).

Call 01284 701131 to book an appointment.