What happens if someone dies and they don’t have a Will?

If you don’t make a Will before you die, your money, property and possessions will be shared out according to the law instead of your wishes.

This can mean they pass to someone you hadn’t intended to benefit – or that someone you want to pass things on to ends up with nothing.

And yet more than half the adults in the UK haven’t written a Will. It’s called ‘intestacy’ or ‘dying intestate’, and many people think they are not wealthy enough for it to matter – despite the fact that the average homeowner has more than £200,000 to leave to their loved ones!

A recent study* showed that younger people are least prepared, with only 24% of 18-34 year olds and 32% of 35-54 year olds having written a Will. Older people 55 + faired slightly better, but still the results showed that 36% did not have a Will.

The table below shows the percentage of UK adults without a will in 2016

Age Without a Will
18-34 76%
35-54 68%
55 + 36%

*Prudential and Unbiased.co.uk

There are many reasons why people do not have a Will from simply waiting until they get older or just assuming that their estate will go to the right person!

Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk, commented: “Overall, fewer people have a Will in place this year than in previous years.  When we look at the breakdown of what people expect to leave – which in the majority of cases is property – this drop in Will-making is a concern.

“It’s worrying that despite this people are still not taking steps to ensure their final wishes are adhered to.”

“It’s not a risk worth taking when you consider how stressful a death in the family can be.”

Here are just some of the situations that could arise if you don’t make a Will:

‘I moved in with my partner 16 years ago – we never married, but we have three children. I’ve just been told I won’t inherit anything from him, not even my home….’

This is because the law says that it is your partner’s children who should inherit – they will receive the proceeds of your partner’s entire estate when they reach the age of 18. If the house was only in his name, it forms part of that estate and will therefore belong equally to the three children.

‘My sister died two months ago and we were really close. Neither of us has family and she always told me she wanted me to have everything if she died. Now I’ve got a letter to say mum is going to inherit everything, even though she walked out on us when we were children…’

If you’re not married and have no children, your entire estate will go to the following relatives, in this order:

  • Your parents
  • If your parents have died, your estate will go to your brothers or sisters
  • If you have no brothers or sisters, your estate will go to your grandparents
  • If your grandparents have died, your estate will go to uncles and aunts
  • If you have no living relatives and die intestate, your estate will go to the Government

Because your mother is still alive, she will inherit everything.

 ‘My mum and I never got along, but when dad died, I was sure he would have looked after me. Now I learn he never wrote a Will, so does that mean I get nothing?’

If your mum and dad were married (or in a civil partnership) your mum will receive everything in your estate, including all personal possessions, up to the first £250,000. Anything above that amount is divided in two – half goes to you and any brothers or sisters you may have, the other to your mum. If the estate is worth £250,000 or less, you will get nothing.

The only way to be sure your wishes are followed is to make a clear and legally binding Will – and that’s where we can help.

We won’t baffle you with legal terminology – we’ll use our years of experience to listen, talk through what you want, and then create the Will which makes sure that happens.

Why not give us a call us on 01952 305 105 – we’re here to help.

Remember, if you don’t have a Will, the authorities will decide how and who should receive your assets according to rules called the ‘Laws of Intestacy’.

Simply call us on 01952 305 105 for more information or to arrange a convenient time to meet one of our consultants.

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WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY ABOUT US

I have known David for over ten years and cannot recommend him too highly.

He has written several Wills for me and my family and also Powers of Attorney.

I have recently had my Will written by David. He came to our house and gave us a first class service, he was very helpful and guided us through the process. The after care is also excellent, you are given wallet sized cards which detail your Will and where it is stored, if legislation changes updates to the Will are completely automatic reflecting these changes. I would highly recommend David to any of my friends or colleagues.”

With two young children our major concern was to ensure that we implemented the right provisions for their future care and financial well being. The way that you structured our meeting and the advice that you provided, has left the pair of us feeling incredibly comfortable. We now have a legal document that would ensure our aims have been met. We couldn’t recommend David highly enough.

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Friends and family of mine have used David’s services and the feedback has always been very positive.

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I recently had to deal with a difficult situation getting my brother to resolve his Will and powers of attorney due to his illness – with various complications from previous marriages and many emotional barriers to clear solution of his wishes. His own solicitor had made a dreadful attempt at sorting things out and drafted a Will saying the exact opposite to the wishes I had been asked to deliver as executor. Having used David, previously, for my own Will, I called on him to deal with my brother’s affairs in Sussex. David could not have been more helpful, knowledgeable and swift to sort all this out, including travelling to my brother’s home to deal with matters. I don’t think I can recommend David highly enough – he has the ability to deal with what could be distressing and morbid in a most positive and compassionate manner.

Emma Davies

I recently had to deal with a difficult situation getting my brother to resolve his Will and powers of attorney due to his illness – with various complications from previous marriages and many emotional barriers to clear solution of his wishes. His own solicitor had made a dreadful attempt at sorting things out and drafted a Will saying the exact opposite to the wishes I had been asked to deliver as executor. Having used David, previously, for my own Will, I called on him to deal with my brother’s affairs in Sussex. David could not have been more helpful, knowledgeable and swift to sort all this out, including travelling to my brother’s home to deal with matters. I don’t think I can recommend David highly enough – he has the ability to deal with what could be distressing and morbid in a most positive and compassionate manner.

Emma Davies