What happens if you die without a Will?


Many people are under the misapprehension that there is no need for them to make a Will as their spouse will inherit everything. However, under the Intestacy Rules, a spouse or civil partner will only inherit the whole estate if the deceased has no children. If the deceased has children then the spouse or civil partner will inherit the deceased’s personal property, the first £250,000 (increasing to £270,00 as of 6 February 2020) of the estate and half of the remaining estate. The other half of the estate will go to the deceased’s children.

There is no such thing as a common-law husband or wife. Therefore, if you live with your partner but have not married them or entered a civil partnership, they will inherit nothing on your death unless it is provided for in a Will.

If you already have a Will in place, it is automatically revoked upon marriage/civil partnership unless it is made in contemplation of that particular marriage/civil partnership. It is important that a Will is made following a marriage/civil partnership, particularly if it is a second marriage/civil partnership, to ensure that the new spouse and any children from the first marriage/civil partnership are provided for appropriately.

Thought also needs to be given as to how you hold the title to your house. Property can be owned by two or more people either as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Joint tenants will automatically inherit the deceased’s interest in a property. However, tenants in common do not, so this has to be provided for in a Will.

It is important to ensure that your loved ones do not have to face problems at a time when they are grieving. By making a valid Will with the help of a solicitor, you will ensure that, on your death, your assets will be inherited by the beneficiaries of your choice.

Please contact either Helen Phillips or Paula Murphy if you would like to make a Will on 01792 468684 or email enquiries@pgmsolicitors.co.uk. Details of our current fees are here.

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