Intestacy rules - When someone dies without a Will

When someone dies without a Will - dies intestate - then our intestacy solicitors can help. We can provide you with expert advice and support on how to deal with your loved one's estate after they have passed without a legal Will in place.

What happens when someone dies without a Will

If a person dies without leaving a legally valid Will behind, they are referred to as dying 'intestate'. After their death their estate will be shared out according to the rules of intestacy. These rules are quite complex, however you don't need to worry. With our team by your side, your loved one's estate will be dealt with fairly and efficiently, without causing you stress.

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About intestacy – Dying without a Will

Intestacy meaning

The meaning of intestacy is fairly straightforward: it is simply the name for the situation when someone dies without leaving a Will.

If your loved one died without a will – died intestate, it usually means that the process of valuing and distributing their estate falls down to their next of kin or closest living relative to manage.

This may not always be who you think it may, the Law has a strict order on who can deal with an intestate estate and can prove problematic for unmarried couples or people who think they have no blood relatives.

This process can be quite simple, however there could also be complications if you have a large family or family relations are strained. Our intestacy, Will and Probate solicitors are experts in dealing with the estates of people who have died without a Will, and have a thorough understanding of the intestacy rules.

We are on hand to help you if your loved one has died without a Will. It may seem overwhelming, but with our help you needn’t stress.

If someone dies intestate - without leaving a Will

If someone dies without leaving a Will – dies intestate, the law will decide who inherits their estate according to certain criteria. These criteria are known as the intestacy rules.

If there are no living relatives to inherit the estate, it will pass to the Crown, and Her Majesty’s Treasury will become responsible for the estate.

Although the rules of intestacy are rigid they can often be confusing, so it is always best to consult a legal professional if your loved one has died without a legal Will. This is especially true if you aren’t entirely sure what assets your loved one had.

Although these rules can be complicated to understand, we are here to help when someone has died without a Will. We will ensure that you feel comfortable knowing how the estate will be distributed and are here to answer all questions you have.

Claiming inheritance when someone has died without a Will

Our intestacy team can help you establish if you are eligible to claim inheritance if your loved one passed without a Will. We will help you to understand the rules of intestacy and how these impact upon your inheritance.

Although claiming inheritance without your loved one leaving a Will is possible, whether you are eligible to receive any will depend on your relationship to them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how close you were to them emotionally, if you don’t qualify under the rules of intestacy and someone has died without leaving a Will, you will not be eligible to claim any inheritance.

If you are unsure whether the intestacy rules allow you to inherit any of your loved one’s estate, our team will be able to help you. We can help those whose family relationships are complex and those whose are strained when someone has died without leaving a Will. We approach every case with sensitivity, and will make sure that you understand every step we take.

Intestacy rules

We know that the intestacy rules are difficult to understand, which is why we’re here to help. We want to make the process easier for you to understand, and will do our best to do so. If someone close to you has died without leaving a Will, we are here for you.

There are many rules for different circumstances within the rules of intestacy. How you are treated under the rules of intestacy will depend on your relationship to the person who passed without a Will. In short, the rules are as follows.

Those who can inherit under the intestacy rules, when someone has died without leaving a Will:

  • Married and civil partners – as long as they are actually married or in a civil partnership with the deceased at time of death
  • Informally separated partners
  • Children of the intestate person – the whole estate if there is no married or civil partner, or, a share of the estate if it is valued at over £250,000 and there is a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Children whose parents are not married or haven’t registered a civil partnership
  • Parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews of the intestate person, but only in certain circumstances

Those who cannot inherit under the intestacy rules:

  • Divorced or dissolved civil partners
  • Cohabiting partners
  • Children of the intestate person if the latter had a married or civil partner – unless the estate is worth over £250,000, in which case they will receive a share
  • Close friends
  • Carers

If your family’s situation is particularly complex and you are unsure about who has a right to inherit part of an intestate loved one’s estate, our specialist solicitors can help you. We support our clients no matter how complicated their circumstances may be after someone has died without leaving a Will, and strive to make the process of inheritance as simple and stress-free as possible.

When someone has passed without leaving a Will – Our intestacy services

Here at AWH we understand that the rules of intestacy can be difficult to comprehend, and it can be hard to know who has a right to what after a loved one dies without a Will. We can help you establish your rights, and responsibilities if you have them, when it comes to your loved one’s estate.

It is often a stressful time after a person dies intestate, which is why we want to help you. Our team can take the weight off your shoulders and deal with the processes necessary after your loved one passes away. This may include Probate, paying Inheritance Tax, or setting up a Trust fund. Whatever you need, our Trusts, Wills and Probate solicitors can help you.

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  • What happens when someone dies without a Will?

    When someone dies without a Will they are called an intestate person, and their estate will be subject to the rules of intestacy.

    These are specific rules which dictate how the distribution of the estate should occur. There will be an Administrator appointed to carry out the valuation and distribution of the estate, who could be the next of kin or closest living relative.

  • What happens to property if there is no Will?

    If there is no Will, what happens to the property is decided using the intestacy rules. This means that the next of kin or closest living relative to the person who died is appointed to administrate their estate, which includes what happens with the property.

    Who gets the property depends on the specific family situation, but the intestacy rules are strict when it comes to who inherits what.

  • Who inherits if there is no Will?

    If there is no Will left when someone dies, who inherits is decided by the rules of intestacy. These are set rules that state the certain circumstances that dictate who in the person's family inherits what.

    For example, if a married person with no children dies intestate, their spouse receives all of the estate. If there are children in the equation, the spouse will receive all personal property and belongings, the first £250,000 of the estate and half of what remains.

  • What happens if parents die without a Will?

    If both of your parents die without a Will or Wills, the children will inherit their whole estate. If you have siblings, the estate will be split equally between you all.

    If just one of your parents dies without a Will, your parents were still married or in a civil partnership at the time of death, and their estate is worth £250,000 or less your surviving parent will inherit the whole estate. If the estate is worth any more than this, your surviving parent will inherit the first £250,000 and the remaining value will be give to you or split among you and your siblings.

  • Can cousins inherit under an intestacy?

    Yes, cousins can inherit under the rules of intestacy, but only in a very specific situation. If a person is unmarried, with no:

    • Children,
    • Parents,
    • Siblings,
    • Nieces or nephews,
    • Half siblings,
    • Grandparents, and
    • Aunts or Uncles,

    would cousins be eligible to inherit anything from the person's estate.

  • Who is the Executor of an estate without a Will?

    The person who operates in the same way as an Executor if the owner of an estate dies without a will is called the Administrator.

    There can only be one Administrator, and they are usually the deceased person's next of kin or closest living relative.

  • How to claim inheritance without a Will?

    To claim inheritance without a will you must be related to the person who has passed away. The rules of intestacy will apply, which means that the deceased person's next of kin or closest living relative will be appointed to Administer their estate.

    The Administrator will then be responsible for distributing any inheritance to the relevant people, such as spouses, civil partners and children.

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