When someone dies without leaving a Will – or a Will exists but it is invalid – their estate (all property, money and personal possessions) must be shared out according to certain legal rules. These are called the Rules of Intestacy.
Unfortunately, if a person dies without a Will, otherwise known as dying ‘Intestate’, then what happens to their estate might be very different to what they may have intended.
The Intestacy Rules provide a strict list as to who can inherit an estate. It is important to note that only direct family can inherit under Intestacy: not unmarried partners or friends. Likewise, if a person dies without a Will, depending on the value of their estate then not everything may necessarily pass to their spouse.
It is also important to consider that even where a Will exists, if it does not effectively dispose of the entire estate then some assets may still pass according to the Rules of Intestacy.
The Rules of Intestacy are not designed to provide for today’s modern family arrangements. Situations can become complicated through multiple marriages and divorces. If your partner has died and you are not married, without a Will you are entitled to nothing, even if you had been living together before death. Many people mistakenly believe that they may be entitled to assets as a ‘common law spouse’, so it is extremely important to draft a Will or consider reviewing old Wills to ensure they are effective and still reflect your wishes.
The following flowchart demonstrates how estates are distributed on Intestacy:
You’re in safe hands
SWW Trust Corporation specialises in the administration of estates and will, offer you full and advice and guidance throughout.
With you every step of the way, at SWW Trust Corporation we have helped thousands of bereaved families where a loved one has died with or without a Will. We are always here to listen, empathise with your circumstances and discuss how we can guide you through this difficult process.
What’s more, because we are a Trust Corporation, our Estate Managers are all legally qualified professionals with years of experience in Wills, Probate and Estate Administration. So, while some solicitors dabble in Probate and Estate Administration, it is all we do. All day, every day.
Friendly and approachable, we also don’t charge per letter as solicitors do, or for the time we take speaking to you personally over the phone. So that’s one less thing to worry about.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact us or call 01522 581 570.