What Are the Intestacy Rules? 
July 4, 2024

Making a valid Will is the only way of ensuring your property, money and other assets pass on to those you wish to benefit from your estate after your death. Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will in place. 

A Will should be comprehensive and consider every aspect of your life. It is recommended that a Will includes information and instructions about the following: 

  • Who you want to administer your estate when you die. 
  • Who will be the guardian of your children (if they are minors). 
  • Your wishes regarding your funeral. 
  • Who will benefit from your estate. 
  • Any protection for vulnerable beneficiaries. 
  • Any tax payable on your estate and who is liable to pay it. 

However, despite their importance, a report last year by the National Will Register found that less than half of UK adults have a Will, and fewer still have discussed what should happen to their estate upon their passing. 

If you die without making a Will (known as dying ‘intestate’), your loved ones will have no way of knowing what your intentions were. Moreover, you have no say in who gets what, as the law decides what happens to your assets. 

In this blog, our specialist Wills and Probate solicitors consider what happens when someone dies without a Will. 

What happens when there is no Will? 

If someone dies without a Will they are said to have died ‘intestate’. In this case, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and who should inherit their estate (property, personal belongings and money). 

What is the process if someone dies without a Will? 

When you make a Will, you must name at least one executor to administer your estate after your death. If you die without a Will, this responsibility passes to the most ‘entitled’ person, which is usually your closest living relative. 

This person must apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’ to make them the ‘administrator’ of the estate, allowing them to value the estate, pay any debts and distribute the estate according to the intestacy rules. 

Do you need a solicitor if someone dies intestate? 

Administering an intestate estate can be more complicated and time consuming than probate if someone leaves a Will. Mistakes can happen, although they should be avoided, not least because administrators can be held personally liable for any errors that are made during the estate administration process. 

Talking to a solicitor can help, especially if matters are complex or you are unsure about your obligations.  

At Bowsers Solicitors, our experienced probate solicitors in Cambridgeshire can assist in distributing an intestacy estate and guide you through the process. 

For more information about how we can help with estate administration issues, please call 01945 583194 (Wisbech) or 01354 652606 (March), or email reception@bowsers.co.uk

Who inherits if there is no Will? 

If you die intestate, there is no guarantee that your closest loved ones will inherit when you die. 

Under the rules of intestacy, if you’re married, your partner will inherit the first £322,000 of your estate and all your personal possessions. Anything above that will be split in half, with one-half going to your spouse and one-half to your children in equal shares.  

If you’re not married, according to the intestacy rules inheritance will follow your bloodline, and your assets will be passed to your children, grandchildren, parents or siblings.  

If you die intestate and have no family to inherit, your estate will be passed to the Crown. 

Unmarried partners do not automatically inherit under the rules of intestacy. If you are cohabiting with a partner and want to ensure they are provided for after your death, it is crucial to make a Will. 

Similarly, relations by marriage, friends and carers are not entitled to inherit under intestacy rules.  

To find out more about who is entitled to a share of someone’s money, property and possessions if they die without a Will, click here

Wills and Probate Solicitors Near Me 

Administering an intestate estate can be daunting and can pose many challenges. At Bowsers Solicitors, our specialist intestacy lawyers have extensive experience guiding clients through the estate administration process when someone dies without a Will. 

Our professional and local Wills solicitors in March and Wisbech will use their knowledge to deal with issues arising from intestacy. 

Dying intestate often causes a lot of additional difficulties for your loved ones. To avoid this, everyone should have a Will. 

At Bowsers Solicitors, we help clients across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire write and update their Wills. 

Our experienced lawyers take the time to fully get to know you and your circumstances so that the Will you write accurately reflects your situation and wishes. 

If you are administering an intestate estate or need wider Will writing advice, please contact our experienced private client solicitors and chartered legal executives today on 01945 583194 (Wisbech) or 01354 652606 (March), or email reception@bowsers.co.uk.  

Alternatively, you can fill in our contact form