What happens if I don’t make a will?

When a person dies without making a will, it’s known as dying intestate. The decision of who inherits the estate then comes under the rules of intestacy.

Who will inherit my estate?

If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership at the time of death, their partner will inherit all personal belongings, the whole estate up to a value of £250,000, and half of anything that remains. If the deceased was not married or in a civil partnership, their children will inherit everything. If they did not have children, the estate will go to other relatives.

Children of the deceased inherit half of what is left after the first £250,000 has gone to the partner of the deceased. All biological and adopted children get an equal share, even if they are from a previous marriage or have not had contact with the deceased, but it won’t be given to them until they are 18 years of age, unless they get married before then.

The following people are not entitled to inheritance:

  • Partners who were not married or in a civil partnership
  • Children who are not the biological children of the deceased, unless they were adopted
  • People related by marriage (‘in-laws’)
  • Friends and carers

How long can the process take?

Even if you think you are happy for your estate to be divided according to the rules of intestate, you should still make a will. You might want a friend to receive some sentimental items, want specific heirlooms given to your children, or you might have pets that will need re-homing if you pass away. The process of probate is also easier and quicker if there’s a will in place, provided it has been made correctly. The average time that probate takes is around 6 to 12 months in the UK, and that’s if there is a will in place. If a person with a large estate dies intestate, the legal process of sorting it out could take years to complete, dragging out what is most likely a painful event for the family.

Get Romain Coleman to help you with your will

At Romain Coleman, we are wills and probate solicitors with years of experience. We can provide a service that looks after you and your interests, efficiently and at a reasonable cost. Contact us on 0208 520 4555 or use our Quick Online Enquiry for a free consultation.