What happens if I die without making a Will?


Without a Will your estate will be administered following the strict rules of intestacy. Therefore it is outside of your control as to who will or won’t benefit from your estate. It will be determined by your family structure and value of your estate. If you are in a relationship but not married or in a civil partnership your partner will not be a beneficiary.

Is there such a thing as the ‘Common Law Marriage’?

No, this is a myth. It doesn’t matter how long you and your partner have been in a relationship; unless you make a Will your partner will not automatically be entitled to receive anything. The only way to provide for each other on death is to prepare a Will with specific provisions.

What happens to my house if I die before my Partner and I have not made a Will?

It depends on how you hold the property. There are two forms of joint ownership called ‘tenants in common’ and ‘joint tenants’. If you hold the property as tenants in common you can regulate difference percentage shares between joint owners. If you passed away, your share will pass according to the rules of intestacy. Therefore, your partner will not inherit your interest in the property. If you hold the property as joint tenants, then your interest in the property will pass automatically to your partner if you die.

Who will look after my children if I die without making a Will?

If you die without making a Will you have not legally provided for who your children will live with and who will care for them as guardians. In these circumstances, your children are likely to go to a grandparent or sibling. If you make a Will and appoint a Guardian you can detail what is important to you and them and how you wish them to be raised.

Who will manage the estate for my children if I don’t make a Will?

If you have prepared a Will you can chose who to appoint to act as your executors and trustees. If you have completed a power of attorney this is no longer valid if you die so the attorneys will not be able to act.

If you haven’t prepared a Will this becomes more difficult as someone will need to be recognized in order to act as your Personal Representative. This may be by the Probate Registry if a Grant of Representation is required.

Under the rules of intestacy your children will inherit at the age of 18. However if you prepare a Will you can alter this to 21 or 25 if you think 18 is too young. Before the age of 18 (or any age you may specify), the money will be put into a trust to be managed by the trustees appointed by the Will on behalf of your beneficiaries. As you would not have provided for who will take on this role your children may be left vulnerable and exposed as the trustees will control the assets in the trust.

For more information on how you can make your Will, please contact Lucy Butcher by emailing Lucy or by calling her on +44 (0)1635 01635 508187.

Lucy Butcher

Inheritance Protection

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