What Happens if There Is No Will?

This is called Intestacy.

Intestacy is a circumstance where somebody dies without making a  valid will.

The “Intestacy laws then determine who can deal with and administer the deceased’s estate

and who should benefit from it.

We can help you sort out the legal side of things quickly, easily and at low cost.

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Welcome to our page explaining Intestacy. Intestacy is a circumstance where somebody dies without making a valid will. The “Intestacy laws” then determine who can deal with and administer the deceased’s estate and who should benefit from it.

We are a firm who specialise in dealing with probate and estate administration work. At Seatons, we offer a helpful and friendly service with low fees that provide exceptional value for money. Please call us today for a free, no-obligation chat on 01536 276300 or contact us online.

Intestacy Laws

When a person dies without making a valid will then the laws of intestacy state who should be responsible for the administration of the deceased’s estate and how the estate is to be distributed.  The laws of intestacy are covered by section 46(1) of the Administration of Estates Act 1925.

If You're Married With Children

If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership and had children and has died without having made a will then (rather surprisingly) under intestacy laws, their spouse may not inherit all the estate. The deceased’s spouse or civil partner would be entitled to the following:-

  1. Up to £250,000 of the deceased’s estate assets (plus interest base rate)
  2. Personal possessions of the deceased (tangible, moveable property)
  3. The right to acquire the home for full value
  4. 50% of the residue of the estate.

After the above distribution, the 50% remainder of the deceased’s estate is distributed equally amongst the deceased’s children.

If Married Without Children

If the deceased was married with no children and died without making a will then under the laws of intestacy the deceased’s spouse would be entitled to the whole of the estate.

If Not Married With Children

If the deceased was unmarried at the time of death but had children and died without making a will then under the law of intestacy, the deceased’s children would receive the estate in equal shares. However, the deceased’s children’s share of the estate would be held in trust and paid when they reach the age of 18 years.

If Not Married Without Children

If the deceased was unmarried at the time of death with no children and died without making a will then under the law of intestacy, the deceased estate would pass to the deceased’s parents in equal shares.

If Not Married With No Children and No Parents

If the deceased was unmarried with no children and no parents and died without making a will then under the law of intestacy, the deceased’s brothers and sisters of whole-blood would inherit the estate in equal shares. If there are no brothers or sisters of whole-blood then the deceased’s brothers and sisters of half-blood would inherit in equal shares.

If Not Married With No Children, No Parents and No Brothers or Sisters

If the deceased was unmarried with no children, no parents, no brothers or sisters and the deceased died without making a will then, under the law of intestacy, the deceased’s grandparents would inherit in equal shares.

If Not Married With No Children, No Parents, No Brothers or Sisters and No Grandparents

If the deceased was unmarried with no children, no parents, no brothers or sisters and no grandparents then under the law of intestacy the deceased’s estate would pass to their uncles and aunties of whole-blood. If there are none, then it would pass to their uncles and aunties of half-blood.

No Blood Relatives

If the deceased was unmarried with no blood relatives then, under the law of intestacy, their estate would pass to the Crown.

Unmarried Couples

Under the law of intestacy, unmarried couples do not automatically inherit anything. Conversely, following the intestacy law, married couples are recognised as having significant rights over property upon death. Therefore, if a person is unmarried and dies without having made a will, then their partner will not automatically receive anything! They might in certain circumstances be able to make an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Separated Couples

Under the law of intestacy, if a person is separated but not divorced and dies without making a will, their spouse may be entitled to claim part or all of the deceased’s estate in certain circumstances.

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Adrian Chambers - Seatons Solicitors

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