When someone close to you has died, finding out that they didn’t leave a valid will can make a difficult time a lot more stressful. If they were your spouse or partner, you may have been financially dependent on them. And if you were expecting to inherit their whole estate, the absence of a will could leave you substantially worse off. At a time like this, it’s important to find out your legal position, and whether there’s anything you can do to improve it.
The law says that the property of an ‘intestate person’ must be shared out in a certain way. Married partners or civil partners are usually first in line – but the rights of unmarried partners are a lot less clear. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren come next. More distant relatives – such as nephews and nieces – could also be in line for a portion of the estate. It is possible to rearrange the way that the estate of an intestate person is shared – but everyone affected must agree.
Our legal experts can help you understand what the intestacy laws mean for you. They’ll explain who can administer the estate and what the rules say about who is in line to benefit from it. They’ll also explore what flexibility (if any) might exist in your particular situation – and how you could go about changing the way that the estate is divided up.
All advice contained within this section relates to England and Wales only.