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Wills & Probate

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Frequently Asked Questions

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InHouse Wills & Probate

Award-winning Will writer



If someone dies without a valid Will they are said to be intestate. The law makes its best guess about how to pass on the inheritance - but it might not be the best for your family.



If an individual passes away without a Will then are described as being intestate. The passing on of their estate is then governed by the rules of intestacy. These rules of intestacy are changed from time to time, significantly from 1st October 2014 but with a minor tweak from 6th February 2020.

The rules of intestacy are a ‘best guess’ by the lawmakers regarding how to pass things on for the average person. But like most averages, so often it represents a mediocre position - it might not be too bad but rarely is it perfect for anyone.

For example, without a Will:-

And of course, without a Will nothing will go to more distant relatives, your friends or charities that you want to support. Anyone inheriting through intestacy is free to do what they want with the inheritance - to spend it or pass it on to whoever they choose (which might not be to your family as you would hope it would be).

Having a Will can also help with the administration of your estate - making it easier for the family to claim your accounts at the bank etc.

Sometimes people think that without a Will everything will go to the government - that is not the case. As long as there is someone alive who is descended from one of your grandparents then the government will not take your estate - but a lot of money might be lost in having to trace relatives you had forgotten about or who you had not seen for many years.  Remember, if the person due to inherit has already passed away then their own descendants would need to be traced - so it might involve finding long-lost nephews, great-nieces, children of cousins, etc. All in all, there is virtually no situation which would not benefit from some simple advice and putting in place at least a basic Will.

You can check the current rules of intestacy. If you are having to deal with an intestacy situation and need some advice, or perhaps you need help with tracing missing relatives, contact us for help.