Dying without a Will (Intestacy)
Posted 20th November 2018
If you die without having left a valid will, then it is known as dying intestate. When
somebody dies intestate, your estate will be divided up in line with the rules of intestacy,
which are set in law and predetermined. It would not matter or consider any wishes
you may have.
The rules surrounding intestacy are complex and maybe not as straightforward as you may think as they can vary depending on the situation of a person in terms of family and wealth when they pass away.
Overview of Intestacy rules:
The intestacy flow chart below shows exactly how an estate is divided if a person dies intestate but as an overview.
If you are married/ civil partnered with children- The first £250,000 to your spouse or civil partner, then the remainder split into two shares with one share going to the spouse or civil partner and one share going to the children. -Note if the estate is under £250,000 the children will not be included.
If you are NOT married or in a civil partnership with children - the whole estate will be divided equally amongst the children.
If you are NOT married or in a civil partnership with NO children - Then it goes to surviving parents, if none-siblings, if none- half siblings, if none- grandparents, if none uncles’ aunts, if it goes to the treasury.
Although there are many stages before the crown will end up inheriting all of your estate if you die intestate, the truth is a lot of people can end up inheriting who you may not wish. Making a will can solve this problem allowing you to retain control.
Dying intestate also can be very expensive for the family having to go through a lot of procedures that otherwise would not have been necessary if you had a will and can put a lot of undue expense upon the family.
Intestacy if there is a will?
Sometimes people die and we are sure there was a will but many factors can mean that person is still classed as dying intestate. These include:
- A will that cannot be found- if nobody knows where it is you are classed as dying intestate;
- Your will is not up to date and only deals with a proportion of your estate- the proportion not covered in your will can fall under intestacy law;
- A will that was not signed in the correct manner- often a problem with DIY wills/over the internet wills, where attestation (signing of will) is not checked and/or supervised- this can leave an individual intestate as unfortunately the will would be classed as invalid.
We always recommend, regardless of your circumstance that everybody should have a will written. Although some people may be put off through fear of high costs, it is not as expensive as you may think and at the very least can save your family a lot of difficult decisions, delay and expense when that time comes.
Does writing a will matter? The short answer is yes - if you want to retain any control regarding where your assets end up.
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