If there is no valid Will – intestacy

When someone has died intestate, it means they have not left a valid Will, naming executors and beneficiaries.

If this happens, the Rules of Intestacy will determine who can administer and who will benefit from the deceased’s estate.

Identifying who can administer the estate is the most important first step.

Who administers the estate when there is no Will?

When someone dies without leaving a Will, the estate must still be administered. All of the deceased’s assets will be frozen until such time as a Grant of Representation has been issued to a personal representative by the Courts.

Once the Grant of Representation has been issued, the estate may be administered by the person(s) or organisation that is named in the document and all of those assets can be distributed appropriately.

The rules of intestacy

When intestacy occurs, the person(s) appointed to administer the estate is known as the administrator(s). Usually, this person is the deceased’s next of kin (typically a spouse or child), or if that person is not available, another close relative, such as a sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle.

If your loved one has died intestate, we can help you determine who the administrator should be.

The rules of intestacy also apply to beneficiaries. Only direct relatives can inherit the deceased’s assets. In order of priority, this means a spouse or civil partner, natural children, grandchildren, and other blood relatives.

Unfortunately, when someone has died intestate, cohabiting partners, stepchildren, friends, and charities are not eligible to inherit. This is because the rules of intestacy date from 1925, when most families were quite different in structure to the way they are today. Cohabitees of the deceased may still be able to apply to the Court for financial help.