9 Nov 2021

What if I Pass Away Without a Valid Will?

If you don’t create a Will during your lifetime, do you know what happens to your estate after you pass away?

Over half of UK adults don’t have a Will in place, so have less control over what happens to their financial affairs when the end comes. This is where the rules of intestacy come into play.

What are the rules of intestacy?

These dictate the distribution of a person’s estate should they pass away without leaving a Will. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy.

These rules also apply if a Will is in place but not legally valid.

Who can inherit under the rules of intestacy?

Those who are married or in a civil partnership can inherit under the rules of intestacy. If you have informally separated from someone whom you are married or in a civil partnership and living separately from then they can still inherit, but cohabiting partners cannot.

Close relatives are classed as children, grandchildren and/or great grandchildren, or parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.

There is also a list of other potentially eligible people, based on family links, and these are in priority order – grandparents, uncles and aunts and half-uncles and half-aunts.

Who cannot inherit?

There is a list of people who cannot inherit when someone dies without a Will in place:

  • Unmarried partners
  • Lesbian or gay partners not in a civil partnership
  • Close friends

How to avoid uncertainty in your future planning?

If you want to avoid the lack of clarity that comes with financial distribution of an estate after your passing, create a Will to provide clear instructions as to how you wish your estate to be separated and to whom.

This legally binding document will be stored safely until your passing before being used as the way forward after your death.

Call our Wills, Probate & Trusts Team on 0800 915 2328.

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