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What if you die without leaving a Will?

Making a valid Will ensures that when you die your assets will go to the relatives, friends and organisations that you would like them to. However, often people die having not made a valid Will. When that happens, the person’s assets are distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy (known as the Intestacy Rules). We have summarised the Intestacy Rules below to show what will happen to your assets if you die without a valid Will.

The rules summarised here apply to deaths which occur on or after 6 February 2020; if you require advice upon a death which occurred before that date, please contact us.

I am married or in a civil partnership

Your spouse will receive all of your assets. However, if you also have children, your spouse will receive all of your personal possessions and the first £322,000 of your other assets. The rest of your estate will then be split 50/50; the first 50% will go to your spouse, and the remaining 50% will be split equally between your children.

For the purposes of the Intestacy Rules, your children include illegitimate and adopted children, but not step-children.

I am not married, but do have children

Your children will share your assets equally.

I am not married and do not have any children

Your assets will be shared equally between your closest relatives who are still alive when you die, in the following order:

  1. Your parents;
  2. Your full siblings, or their children if any of them have passed away;
  3. Your half siblings, or their children if any of them have passed away;
  4. Your grandparents;
  5. Your full aunts or uncles, or their children if any of them have passed away;
  6. Your half aunts or uncles, or their children if any of them have passed away.

This means that if either of your parents are still living, your assets will be shared equally between them and the rest of your living relatives will receive nothing. If you have no living parents when you die but you do have full siblings, your full siblings will share your assets equally, and the rest of your living relatives will receive nothing, and so on.

I do not have any family members in these categories

If there is no one to claim your estate, your assets will all pass to the Crown. As unlikely as this might seem, at the end of 2021 there were more than 6,000 unclaimed estates in the UK, estimated to be worth billions of pounds.

My relative has died and I believe I have a claim to their estate. What should I do?

If a family member has passed away without leaving a Will and you believe you have a claim to the estate, contact our experts today. We can discuss whether you fall into a category which would entitle you to make a claim and whether any other relatives might need to be contacted. It might also be appropriate for you to apply to administer their estate.

If you need any advice, please contact a member of our team in confidence here or on 02920 829 100 for a free initial call to see how we can help.


To speak to one of our experts today, please contact us on 02920 829 100 or by using our Contact Us form for a free initial chat to see how we can help.

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