What Happens If You Don’t Have A Will?

A will is the only way to make sure your money, property, possessions and investments go to the people and causes you choose.

If you don’t make a will, there can be plenty of unintended consequences, many of which can be tough on the family left behind. Approximately, 65% of the UK population still don’t have a will written.

Who inherits if there is no will?

The laws of intestacy say that when there is a death without a will, the closest relative will inherit their estate. In England and Wales, there is an order of priority:

  • The spouse or civil partner. If the person who died didn’t have kids, their spouse of civil partner will get everything. However, if they did have children, their spouse will get the first £270,000 of the estate, all their possessions and half off everything else. The rest will be split between the children.
  • The children. If the person who has died wasn’t married, the estate will be split equally between their children.
  • Parents. Split equally.
  • Brothers and sisters. Split equally. Again if one of the siblings has died, their children (the nieces and nephews) will inherit that share.
  • If someone has no living relatives, everything goes to the Crown.

We must highlight, that dying without a will in the UK often means paying more than you need to HMRC in inheritance tax. This is especially true if you are married.

What about probate without a will?

When a will is made, the owner of that will has a chance to choose their executors. The executors are the people that would like to sort out all their legal and financial affairs when they are gone. You can choose a professional, friend or family member who is well-organised and trustworthy. If you die without a will then this job will fall to a close family member and they will have to apply for a grant of letters of administration before they can access any bank accounts, transfer property etc.

What about your children if you don’t have a will?

Parents with young children should really have a will written as it lets them have a say in who should take care of the kids if something were to happen to them. They can do this by naming their guardians.

If there is no other parent to take over, a court or local council will decide who will look after the children. Dying without a will could mean that your children have to live far away from family or friends.

Read our top tips about what to remember when writing a will and information on your digital legacy.

If you haven’t written a will, then why not get it done today. We have partnered with Beyond, who offer a simple online will writing service that can help you make a will in just 15 minutes. Find out more here.

*Please note: The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Will Writing. 

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