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What if There is No Will?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 20 Apr 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 son has recently passed away, he was single and lived with us had no children and no will.From what I have read,I understand that my wife and I will inherent his assets but do we need to inform anyone legally?
GD - 20-Apr-17 @ 1:44 PM
Hello can somebody help I lost my dad 13 years ago he was all I had in terms of family he was very well off had a company and we was very well of as I grew up no body wanted to talk about the money he left my family on his side gave all his things to charity and every one but me when I ask they don't talk to me and when I say any thing I get pushed away
Little - 19-Apr-17 @ 11:04 PM
I have a friend his dad died. He has a sister. Before the dad died. The daughter got all paperwork. And was getting into estate before death. There is no will. Now she has gotten the insurance. Not splitting it with sibling. And they want him to sign his name. On documents to sell house. The sister has gotten into bank. The brother has no money. What can he do and how can he get a lawyer. Please tell me there is something we can do thank you
Evie - 19-Apr-17 @ 5:25 PM
gina - Your Question:
Hi recently my brother has died, my mum has always been his next of kin, he also has two daughters 27 & 25. Can you tell me by law who is his next of kin

Our Response:
There is no real legal definition of "next of kin" in the UK. It's usually the closest blood relative or spouse. So you would usually name a spouse if you were married, a parent if you were a child and a sibling if you had no grown up children/surviving parents etc. Your brother would probably name his grown up children as next of kin in the absence of his mother.
FacingBereavement - 13-Apr-17 @ 12:27 PM
My mother was with her partner 10 years living together 8 years her partner died and his family took him back home to be laid to rest never wanted to know him for the 23 years he was living here is my mother entitled to anything or will they get everythingand he had no will..
lovexx - 11-Apr-17 @ 7:23 PM
Hi recently my brother has died, my mum has always been his next of kin, he also has two daughters 27 & 25. Can you tell me by law who is his next of kin
gina - 11-Apr-17 @ 3:26 PM
ok my gran died a few years ago and my mom stays in the house we maintain it as her other 4 siblings have their own houses but somehow the eldest keeps fighting and making issues about the house and i dont know what to do as my granny did not have a will and the house is still on her name
ally - 8-Apr-17 @ 7:37 AM
Anon - Your Question:
My grandad passed away 10 yrs ago and my nan recently. Grandad had other children from a previous marriage and is technically my step grandad as not my dads real dad. Are his children from previous marriage entitled to anything or would it be just my dad? We can't find a will.

Our Response:
No if there is no Will and assuming everything was inherited by your nan, then your dad and any other of your nan's offspring will inherit her estate.
FacingBereavement - 7-Apr-17 @ 2:41 PM
My grandad passed away 10 yrs ago and my nan recently. Grandad had other children from a previous marriage and is technically my step grandad as not my dads real dad. Are his children from previous marriage entitled to anything or would it be just my dad? We can't find a will.
Anon - 6-Apr-17 @ 9:00 PM
My fiancee of 17 years died last week in prison of an illegal drug.I was listed as his contact person and we have 2 kids.Why did his family get him cremated.They would have never know about his death had I not told them
Min - 4-Apr-17 @ 7:13 PM
this is a strange situation my father married my mom when she left her first husband and she had 5 children. My mom and dad married then had 2 girls my older sister and myself so im the youngest. now there are 7 altogether.so 5 are half related siblings ( because we have the same mother) and my sister and i have the same mom and dad. now growing up my dad and mom supported all of us because my half sisters father was a dead beat dad however they their dad had the money but my mom never went after him. my first question would be even though my mom passed can I go after the sisters for back support because they of course received money when the estate was sold and my sister promised me money since i listed the property and lost money because i had it on the market for 2 years they would not listen to me when i gave them the property value even before she payed a guy toappraise itbecause you know what do i know im the youngest so she makes him put the value at close to 1 milliion it was a joke. i got a all cashh offer for 750,000 and the 2 girls who are so unreaspnale and of course no evrything said that wasnt enough because they said you know there are 6 `people that we are going to recieve a portion. Who cares about your greed no onw wants to pay you more becuase there are so many involved. This is just 1 thing they did to me and i could of made 30,000 property stayed on the market the lsgt offer i got was 400,000 they said no. while later another agent listed it it stayed om market 2 uears they got 350,000 joke on them. My sister said she would give me 3,000 when she got the money but of course nothing. now i told my mother to please go after the estate for back support and she just couldnt do it she felt guilty even though they struggled thru out the marriage with money and so did me and my older whole sister but the 2 half ones get money from tier fathers estate and then when my mother had a stroke they went behind my back had her sign documents in the hospital 3 days after her stroke when she couldnt even see. top this all off i was going to take care of my father until i could make the best possible arrangement for him now what can i do about these girls who are devils in descise and get my things they tok that are mine because he is my father and get control over the health for him you dont even know what they put him thru
beauty - 1-Apr-17 @ 10:06 PM
This is about my family my mom gave it to me she had nowwill saying that but the family now's what she wanted after she past away but there 9 sibling including myself they have to sign papers so I could sell it or can I sell it with out the signature or will I get in trouble for selling it it's my house
Big T - 23-Mar-17 @ 5:21 AM
My life was destroyed when my husband sent me packing, after 13 years we have been together. I was lost and helpless aftertrying so many ways to my husband back to me. One day at work, I was distracted, not knowing that my boss called me, so hesat and asked me what it was all about, I told him and he smiled and said it was no problem. I never understood what hemeant by it was no problem getting back my husband, he said he used a spell to get back his wife when she left him foranother man, and now they are together till date and initially I was shocked hearing something from my boss. He gave me anemail address of the Prophet Abuvia which helped 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 my information and that my husband was ableto propose to throw him the spell and I sent 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 I had to rush off to my mother's placeand to my greatest surprise, was kneeling my husband beg mefor forgiveness that he wants me and the child back home, whenI gave prophet Abuvia a conversation regarding sudden change of my husband and he made clear to me that my husband willlove me until the end of the world, that he will never leave for another woman. Now me and my husband is back together andstarted doing funny things he has not done before, he makes me happy and do what it is supposed to do as a man withoutnagging. Please if you need help of any kind need, please contact Prophet Abuvia for help. His email is prophet.abuvia AT gm a i l . com his website is prophetAbuviasolutiontemple . webs . com
Sarah Coleman - 20-Mar-17 @ 3:16 PM
My father recently died my stepmother told me that he's not left a will even though previously a few years ago she had told me that he had and she had him change it to include her children. I'm stuck for what I can do from here. Does have any advice
Niks - 7-Mar-17 @ 7:04 PM
Hi recently my brother has died, my mum has always been his next of kin, he also has two daughters 27 & 25. Can you tell me by law who is his next of kin
Nic - 6-Mar-17 @ 3:21 AM
Hello, I have a situation where a Will leaves a 1/3 share of the 'residual estate' to a party in a Trust (the other 2/3 shares left to others in the Trust) and the person who wrote the will dies in 1974. According to the Will, Another person is allowed to live in the House for the remainder of their lifetime thereupon it will be returned to the Trust. That person died in 1989 but no one seems to have checked the original will and there appears to have been no probate. The house has been sold and the Trust was never credited with the proceeds or informed of the sale. Given the number of years past, and the fact that whoever sold the house is now also deceased, is there likely to be any remedy? The people named as the trustees of the Trust set up in the Will (from the deceased in 1974) are still alive. Thank you for your opinion
RobL - 4-Mar-17 @ 9:54 AM
4 weeks ago the police called at my home to notify me they'd found my ' StepFathers' body in his home apparently he'd been there for awhile and was decomposed.As they had no one else the founder police officer asked if I would be named as Next of Kin I agreed because of my mum I also informed them of a blood brother that might be alive.The Coroner was called, he decided an autopsy was needed to find cause of death etc ..his report found that natural causes were the reason.during this time a brother was indeed found but he wanted nothing to do with his dead brother at all.the coroner listed me on his report as next of kin.I don't know why I was asked as so far I've had no involvement the police office in charge refuses to release property siezed to me even though the coroner has agreed ive not been allowed to enter his bungalow even though landlord has been there looking for documents I just don't know what's going on
Teen - 25-Feb-17 @ 3:33 AM
SJ - Your Question:
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

Our Response:
It's worth consulting a solicitor over this. If there was no Will the estate often has to go through the probate process if it's large enough. General inheritance rules are that the estate is divided equally between the children if there is no spouse.
FacingBereavement - 22-Feb-17 @ 2:33 PM
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
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