What Happens if You Die Without Making a Will?

If you are married or in a civil partnership…

If you die without making a will, the Government decides who will inherit your assets. Very strict legal rules (known as the intestacy rules) come into effect. These rules set out how your estate will be distributed.

For example, if you die leaving your spouse or civil partner, based on those strict rules, they will not automatically receive your assets. They will only be entitled to your personal belongings and £270,000. The balance of your estate is then divided equally between your spouse/civil partner and your children.

This may not work for everyone. In some cases, this amount is not enough to live on and your home may have to be sold to make ends meet. Also, under these rules, your children will receive their share of your estate at 18 years old. Some people may be concerned that this is too young of an age for them to inherit potentially large sums of money. The only way to ensure that your spouse or civil partner is adequately provided for and that your children inherit their share of your estate at a more sensible age would be for you to make a will.

If you are single…

If you are single and you die without a will leaving no spouse or civil partner and no children, based on the intestacy rules your estate will be divided in a particular order between your parents, your siblings, your nieces and nephews, your grandparents, uncles and aunts and your cousins. If that happens the issues to think about would be whether or not you get on with or even know your relatives.

The other thing to be aware of is that these are the same people who will have the authority to deal with your assets by obtaining valuations,  paying any tax and distributing your assets to the beneficiaries. If you want to choose who will be responsible for dealing with your estate, the best thing to do is to make a will.

If you are an unmarried couple living together…

The other thing to be aware of is that problems can arise for unmarried couples who are living together. There is no protection under the intestacy rules and your partner has no automatic right to receive any assets and however long you have lived together for doesn’t make a difference.

If you die leaving no surviving relatives…

If you die leaving no surviving relatives, your estate will automatically be passed to the Government.

There are a number of factors that would affect how your estate is dealt with under the intestacy rules. But in general, if you don’t want the Government to decide what happens to you restate when you die, making a will is the only way to ensure that your loved ones are provided for as you wish.

Contact Tiger Law to make a will at admin@tiger-law.com or by calling 01233 227 355.


Information on this website is for the general purpose of highlighting potential issues and is not advice specific to any particular situation.

If, after reading our content, you have concerns about your protecting your business, please contact us for a chat and we will help you to review what you have in place and whether there are any gaps in your filing cabinet.

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