What happens if there is no will?


In cases where there is no valid will the process is more complicated.  A special set of rules known as the intestacy rules will apply to the devolution of the estate as between the deceased’s family. Only spouses and civil partners, children and other close relatives of the deceased’s family may inherit under the intestacy rules.

The intestacy rules are very strict. For example, it is a common misconception that a spouse or civil partner will always inherit their partner’s entire estate under the intestacy rules. This may not however, be correct. If the deceased leaves behind children and a spouse or civil partner and their estate is worth £250,000 or more then the surviving spouse/civil partner will, generally speaking only receive:

  •    All the personal property and belongings of the person who has died;
  •    The first £250,000 of the estate; and
  •    Half of the remaining estate.

The person to whom the grant of letters of administration is granted is known as the administrator. The administrator is the person who has the legal right to deal with the affairs of the person who has died and is determined by the intestacy rules. The administrator will usually be a close relative of the person who has died but it is important that the correct family member applies. There may be more than one person who has an equal right to do this. A solicitor will be able to tell you the set order of priority.

For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you either in our office or in your own home to talk through your requirements and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.