Intestacy: What happens when you die without a Will!

by Apr 6, 2018Blog

So, what happens if you die without a Will?

Consider this – what happens to your house? Your money? Your belongings? Your Spouse/Partner? And most importantly, what would happen to your children?

When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a Will is called an intestate person.

Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy. It doesn’t matter what your relationship with those people was like when you were alive.

And, if you make a Will but it is not legally valid, the rules of intestacy decide how the estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the Will.

By leaving a Will that says clearly who should get your property and money when you die, you can prevent unnecessary distress at an already difficult time for your family or friends.

Some parents have had to sue their own children to get a share of their partner’s estate when their unmarried partner dies. The law says that in this situation the children get everything.


The law about exactly who gets what is different in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but there are some common problems wherever you live.

Here are some common rules that apply if you don’t make a Will:

  • If you’re not married and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die.
  • If you’re married, your husband or wife might inherit most or all of your estate and your children might not get anything (except in Scotland). This is true even if you are separated but not if you’re divorced.
  • If you have children or grandchildren, how much they are legally entitled to will depend on where you live in the UK – but if you make a will you can decide this yourself.
  • If you are not married and have no children, your estate will pass in a strict order of relatives:
    • Surviving Parents; or
    • Siblings, including half siblings; or
    • Grandparents; or
    • Uncles and Aunts, including half uncles and aunts.

(If none of these relatives exist, then your estate will pass to the Crown!).

And let’s not forget the Inheritance Tax implications of not having a Will: any Inheritance Tax that your estate has to pay might be higher than it would be if you had made a Will!

But all of this can be avoided by simply making your Will.

For something that can be dealt with within a couple of hours and at a relatively low cost why not protect what is yours and save your loved ones the stress.

Are you unsure about making your own Will?  Would you like some professional advice?

If you are putting off writing your Will because you are unsure of how to go about it or can’t decide on the fine detail, then there is no need to worry.  To provide you with peace of mind, you can discuss your situation and concerns with Trusted Law.

We will work with you to agree what is best for you both and your family.  Everything we discuss will always be private and confidential, and you will never feel rushed or pressured.

Trusted Law offers convenient appointments in the comfort of your own home – including evenings and weekends!  So it couldn’t be easier…..

To make your appointment, or for an informal chat, please feel free to contact us on 01953 711950 / 07972 212355 or via email at

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only and in accordance with the current laws as at the date of publishing. 

 About Trusted Law Ltd

 Trusted Law (previously Trusted Wills & Probate Ltd) provides a wide range of services to protect your loved ones and your assets, providing you with much needed peace of mind. 

Our team take the time to get to know you, your family and your wishes to ensure that we are providing you with the right service. No matter how complicated your situation may be, we will work with you to find the right solution.

 To read ’Our Story’ (explaining how Trusted Law was established) please click here.

 If you would like to discover what our clients say about us, please feel free to read our client Testimonials.