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What if There is No Will?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 20 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Will wills intestate intestacy

If an individual dies without having written a will then that individual’s belongings (usually referred to as that person’s estate) is said to be “intestate”. This means that the distribution of the estate is decided according to the law rather than anyone’s personal wishes. Usually the deceased’s closest family members will inherit parts of the estate though this may not always be the case. In order to avoid intestacy, it is strongly advised that all adults draw up wills.

Intestacy Law

“Intestacy” describes the state of an estate that still has assets once all outstanding debts and the deceased’s funeral has been paid for. These assets must then be distributed, and intestacy laws see to this distribution. Intestacy laws differ across the United Kingdom. In England and Wales the governing law is the Administration of Estate Act 1925. In Northern Ireland, the Rules of Intestacy are quite similar. In Scotland, the Succession (Scotland) Act 1964 is the guiding legislation. In general these laws require that the estate be divided between blood and legal (spouse/civil partner) relatives only. However, the ways in which an estate would be divided between spouses/civil partners, children (and grandchildren/great-grandchildren), parents and siblings differ.

Tax Implications

If the law decides who inherits which parts of an estate, then any applicable taxes must be paid. However, very often the tax implications of a death can be reduced if a solicitor is consulted and structures a will in the most advantageous way for those who stand to inherit.

Dealing with Intestate Issues

If you are a surviving relative of someone who has passed away without leaving a will then it is best to consult a solicitor as soon as possible. Check in with the deceased’s solicitors to make sure that they are not holding a copy of the will and do a thorough search of all of the individual’s documents. Try to gather together as much evidence of the estate as you can: bank statements, deeds to property, valuable items, etc. If there are possessions of particular value that could be liable to harm or theft, consult a solicitor about putting them into a safe until they are distributed. The solicitor will also advise you on who should be acting as administrator of the estate (and doing these jobs). Usually this will be a relative. The administrator must follow all laws regarding the distribution of the estate, even if they run counter to what the deceased may have said while (s)he was alive.

When an individual dies without a will, the administration of his or her estate can become a complex and lengthy affair. At the end of it taxes will need to be paid, as well as fees for legal counsel. The best way to avoid this situation is to simply ensure that all adults have drawn up wills. Wills should be updated upon the birth of children, marriage, divorce, remarriage or in the event that dramatic changes occur and it is decided that someone who previously stood (or did not stand) to inherit should no longer be in (or out of) the will. Even if the idea of writing a will seems distasteful or superstitious, these are not good enough reasons to leave family members with the nightmare of wading through personal and estate affairs. If you do not have a will, consult your solicitor soon about ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death.

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My father walked out on my mother leaving behind me (1) and my brother (3) he was having an affair and went on to purchase a house with his girlfriend, they never married. This being 35 years ago and we have had little contact with him since. He went on to have two more children with her.They purchased a house together which I believe was transferred to her name solely 30 odd years ago to avoid paying CSA to my mum. The question is, he died on new years day and I am wondering if my brother and I are entitled to any of his estate now or when she dies?I know their children would not want me or my brother to have any share of it and with it being in her name solely does this mean we wouldn't have any rights at all?
C77 - 20-Feb-17 @ 6:10 PM
my 102 year old nan died nearly a year ago and the will she made 30 years is lost by her son. She lived my mother (her daughter) for 22 years. Her daughter looked after her 24/7 and i the final 3 years of nans life it was harder.Nan passed away and her son couldn't be bothered to search for a flight to be there for her last hours. He always said he wanted no money. There was no inheritance, so savings, she lived life to the full. The funeral was all arranged by the family (daughters family) and he just arrived on the day.On the day we said to him do you want any money from the insurance claim he said no. so we used some fo the funds to sort the spare room to make it sleepable and clean. 10 months later he has demandeda breakfdown of the funeral,which we gave him, then New Years he demanded half of what was left and we told him in a letter which a settlement cheque that there was no money and this was it..he is now demandig liek £200- 400.. he is skint and wanting money from where ever he can get it...we have said over and over there is no money...our family was so close to nan not like his... he wants to take his sister to court over it. he never help with his own mum...dilema
SJ - 18-Feb-17 @ 4:09 PM
Aprilsutton2016 - Your Question:
I'm not sure what to do, our foster kids mother passed away and they want to make the arrangements for their mother but their step grandma said that they can't.does she have any say since their biological grandfather has passed away years ago. If any one knows what they can do lawfully let me know.

Our Response:
Do you mean arrangements regarding the funeral?
FacingBereavement - 13-Feb-17 @ 10:50 AM
I'm not sure what to do,our foster kids mother passed away and they want to make the arrangements for their mother but their step grandma said that they can't.does she have any say since their biological grandfather has passed away years ago. If any one knows what they can do lawfully let me know.
Aprilsutton2016 - 10-Feb-17 @ 2:36 AM
My father recently died, he was separated from his wife for a number of years and before he died he informed me that he has made a will in which he left most of his assets to me and his grandchildren. The day after he died his estranged wife borrowed the key to his house from a neighbour and changed the door locks denying me access to his property. She now say that the house and his assets belong to her because a will was never found. What do I do?
Blenchy - 4-Feb-17 @ 10:56 PM
Hi. I've lived with my grandmother from 1984 from I was 5 years of age she is now poor health and being assessed by mental health team. She always said the house was mine if anything happened to her I don't think there's a will if she has to go into a care home. Wot rights to the house do I have. She also has a son and daughter and my dad is deceased.
Baz - 1-Feb-17 @ 3:57 PM
I just got a call from police that my ex boyfriend has put me as next of kin as he did not talk to his family. He died and I don't know how to get a hold of his family on the other side of the country... and I don't know what I need to do now as to dealing with arrangements for the body ect? I haven't seen him or talked to him in a very long time... help
Overwhelmed - 1-Feb-17 @ 10:55 AM
My dad owned a property, he died 10 years ago. He left no will. He was married to my mum but her name was not on the property as owner. My mum has recently died leaving a will saying my brother gets everything she had. But the will doesn't say what she had. What does this mean? Is she referring to her share of the property? Can my brother inherit the property. Or will it be shared equally amongst us 5 siblings? Any advice desperately appreciated Merry
Merry - 1-Feb-17 @ 10:06 AM
My dad died last year and he never had a will there is me and my brother plus his wife what will happen to all his stuff will his wife get everything
Emz - 31-Jan-17 @ 2:28 PM
hi my mom died a month ago my mom and dad are divorce for 31 years he promise her the house. but house was still on his name all of a sudden he gave the house to my stepbrother. I want to know can he do that what happens with my moms 50% because they were married in community of property. I need advise please
amelia - 31-Jan-17 @ 8:55 AM
Hi, my brother died last year and did not leave a will. The estate is still being tied up. His son is a drug addict and we brothers and sister are not happy with him having everything . He did agree to us having power of attorney over him to help him wind everything up. We know he is not my brother's blood son as his wife had an affair and he was the result, he is not adopted but his name is on birth certificate as my brother's son. Can we stop him having everything ?
Paul - 26-Jan-17 @ 5:19 PM
My sister died in a car accident a year ago. Patrick, jenice and I heard that money will be given because of the accident. $30,000 My mother is keeping it all as soon as she gets it. We are all over 18. She died at age 19. We don't think this is fair. We would like to know what we can do.
Leelee - 23-Jan-17 @ 1:36 AM
Hens - Your Question:
Ok so the father in law is buying us a house we are paying the payments on it and when he dies he said it's ours, now he has 2 other kids how do we ensure that when he passes that they can't take the house from us when we are the ones paying for it? Should he put it in his sins name or joint name? And if that's done can they still get the house?

Our Response:
Yes if you're making the payments on the house, make sure you have a written agreement and proof of the payments etc. It's also worth asking your father in law to include details in his Will. He could also add his son's name as a ''joint tenant' on the property - that way the property will automatically go to his son if he dies.
FacingBereavement - 17-Jan-17 @ 10:21 AM
Hi my grandfather died suddenly at the age of 52 in 1952, my late father always spoke of the appalling way his death and the way his estate assets where dealt with,, I've been researching my family's history and found out that the day after my grandfathers death his nephew stole all of his steam engines, lorry's and military vehicles I then found that said nephews father,grandads brother got awarded probate less in 2 and half months ,, he took what would be a fortune in today's money never paid any of grandads many businesses bills and in turn all where put into liquidation by a corrupt accountants and a sheriff's sale held,, Grandad was a very clever and wealthy man,, he owned many properties and many successful businesses,, how ever he never wrote anything down and didn't have a will, I know the names of the probate court,who the probate was awarded to and the date and his son who stole all grandads vehicles, both deseased now but do have living children and grandchildren,, I just want to find out all the details of the scandel,, I don't want to benefit from it financially,, is there any way of finding out more information, Many thanks
Truthseeker1981 - 16-Jan-17 @ 6:25 PM
Ok so the father in law is buying us a house we are paying the payments on it and when he dies he said it's ours, now he has 2 other kids how do we ensure that when he passes that they can't take the house from us when we are the ones paying for it? Should he put it in his sins name or joint name? And if that's done can they still get the house?
Hens - 16-Jan-17 @ 3:45 AM
My sister died a few years ago, no children and not married. She was 21 and still.lived with our parents. At the time she had a boyfriend of about 3years. Now for 7years ive been asking for some important things back from him that belong to my sister. He's always refused until just before Christmas he said he would come and drop the the things off...hes got a new girlfriend and a baby on the way but he never came. Now it's something me and my mum are desperate to get back. Is there anyway or help out there to guide us in the right direction.Thank you
Char90 - 13-Jan-17 @ 1:47 PM
Tina - Your Question:
My boyfriend just diedhe never had no kids never marriedhe don't own Nothinghe gave me permission after he should diehe wants me to have the money from his checking accounthe gets a SSI check every monthhe didn't write a note saying that I could have the money from his account he only told methat he wanted me to have his money from his accountcan I get in trouble by taking it from his accountI shouldhe said he'd rather me have his money than the state

Our Response:
You should check this out with a solicitor if there was no formal Will written.
FacingBereavement - 10-Jan-17 @ 10:25 AM
Hi my mum died then my dad did few weeks later there are 5 children he left no will he owns propery and has savings but the house is full of personal possessions i dont speak to my family and there taking and selling all valuable items in house and im getting nothing i want items in the house is there anything i can do also my dad said months before if anything happened to him large amount of money is somewere in the house the family have access to the house taking everything and i believe they have got this money as ive been told with my mum not alive all assests possessions are split equily between his children can you help me
mummy2406 - 8-Jan-17 @ 7:15 AM
Lyds - Your Question:
My mum recently passed, I have 3 other siblings but they all have their own houses, I was the only one living with my mother, I have lived in the house for 3+ years. She didn't leave a will and I would like to know if the 3 other siblings would be able to claim 25% of the estate and would be able to sell their 25%'s leaving me practically homeless

Our Response:
Unfortunately if you did not co-own or jointly own the property and there is no Will, this could be the result. It might be worth speaking to a solicitor to see if there are any other options for you.
FacingBereavement - 4-Jan-17 @ 2:37 PM
My mum recently passed, i have 3 other siblings but they all have their own houses, i was the only one living with my mother, i have lived in the house for 3+ years. She didn't leave a will and i would like to know if the 3 other siblings would be able to claim 25% of the estate and would be able to sell their 25%'s leaving me practically homeless
Lyds - 3-Jan-17 @ 3:42 PM
My mum died recently and left £9,000 in a joint bank account(my younger brother) my older sister and I were told that this was left over from my fathers estate he passed 10 months previously and was to be used to pay for mums funeral expenses. My brother who is on this account says that the money is his and we have no claim to it even though he hasn't earned a penny in the past 8 years and didn't contribute to its value. What can we do
Bereaved - 2-Jan-17 @ 8:29 PM
My grandma passed away 12 years ago and she did not leave a will she lived with me my whole life and she passed away and I kept her ashes I've had them for 12 years now and now me and my aunt her daughter got into a fight and now she threatens me to take me to court for my grandmas ashes . So my question is can she her daughter take me to court her granddaughter for her ashes that I have had for 12 years now to court without a will ?
Sam - 2-Jan-17 @ 1:42 AM
My brother passed and his girlfriend wants his ashes can she received them over his family (sisters&brother)?.
One love. - 29-Dec-16 @ 3:13 PM
hi my past away 8th december 2016, she rented from a private landlord and lived with a unmarried partner. the tenancy was solely in my mums name. her unmarried partner and his daughter have taken all my mums documents out of the property banks, building society, premium bonds etc and also have the death certificate. now i do know what she had for the will have allow me have it, for im her next of kin.also he wont let me into the property, what are my legal rights of entering the flat.im going into probate but i dont know what he has taken and if its worth it, im not interested in the money side, but i would like entrance to my mums prosessions for some belong to my grandparents. any help or advise how to get into the property without breaking any laws please. have spoke to CAB but it was helpful thank you lillies
lillies - 28-Dec-16 @ 2:04 AM
My life was destroyed when my husband sent me packing, after 13 years we have beentogether. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to my husband back tome. One day at work, I was distracted, not knowing that my boss called me, so he satand asked me what it was all about, I told him and he smiled and said it was noproblem. I never understood what he meant by it was no problem getting back myhusband, he said he used a spell to get back his wife when she left him for anotherman, and now they are together till date and initially I was shocked hearingsomething from my boss. He gave me an email address of the Prophet Abuvia whichhelped him get his wife back, I never believed that this would work, but I had nochoice coming into contact with the sayings that I get done, and he asked for myinformation and that my husband was able to propose to throw him the spell and Isent him the details, but after two days, my mother called me that my husband waspleading that he wants me back, I never believed, because it was just a dream and Ihad to rush off to my mother's place and to my greatest surprise, was kneeling myhusband beg mefor forgiveness that he wants me and the child back home, when Igave prophet Abuvia a conversation regarding sudden change of my husband and he madeclear to me that my husband will love me until the end of the world, that he willnever leave for another woman. Now me and my husband is back together and starteddoing funny things he has not done before, he makes me happy and do what it issupposed to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind need,please contact Prophet Abuvia for help. His email is prophet.abuvia ATg m a i l. com hiswebsite is prophetabuviasolutiontemple. webs. com
Sarah Coleman - 22-Dec-16 @ 9:56 AM
Danna - Your Question:
My father died years ago and his obituary included the name of his previous stepdaughter (he was divorced from her mother). He didn't have a lot of money but worked for Sarasota times (owned by NY times) for many years. Shouldn't my brother and I (his only biological children) be the ones who inherit his life insurance and retirement?

Our Response:
Do you mean his Will? Was his new wife still alive when he died?
FacingBereavement - 20-Dec-16 @ 10:23 AM
My father died years ago and his obituary included the name of his previous stepdaughter(he was divorced from her mother). He didn't have a lot of money but worked for Sarasota times (owned by NY times) for many years. Shouldn't my brother and I(his only biological children) be the ones who inherit his life insurance and retirement?
Danna - 19-Dec-16 @ 1:51 AM
My father had money in the bank from 1966 he took out 700.00 in 2005 he died in march 2010 the bank don't show where the money has gone is it in unclaimed property in Ca i sent in for his money with death certificate and his ss and ID he had no will hope to get his money it should be thousands
NA - 18-Dec-16 @ 2:21 AM
My mother passed away 8 years ago, they had a joint mortgage that the deposit was paid for with my mothers previous property, I continued to live with step father who after a year began a relationship with someone else, he then threw me out of the property, What rights do I have? -am I entitled to half? Regards
David Jones - 8-Dec-16 @ 8:46 PM
My mom passed 3 yrs ago I have 4 living brothers I live in the house that was my parents were I cared for my mother for 25 yrs till the day she passed I drafted a paper on the computer an printed another form out stating the house belonged to me it was my mothers wishes all my siblings signed form an have me a copy of there id an I had papers notarized for legal purposes what is my next step in putting title of home in my name
lupe - 2-Dec-16 @ 3:16 PM
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