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If you die without leaving a Will then your estate will pass in accordance with the Intestacy Rules and not necessarily in accordance with your wishes. This may result in relatives whom you would not wish to benefit taking a share, particularly where there are complicated family circumstances. If you have no relatives, then your estate will pass to the Crown.
A grant of Letters of Administration is required when someone dies intestate, without having made a Will. Any of the beneficiaries who may inherit in accordance with the Intestacy Rules will be entitled to obtain the grant and deal with the administration.
The Intestacy Rules provide for distribution of your estate in the following way:
Married or in a registered Civil Partnership (not "living together") with children:
Married or in a registered Civil Partnership (not "living together"), no children but parents, brothers or sisters (of the whole blood), nephews or nieces:
Married or in a registered Civil Partnership (not "living together"), no children, parents, brothers or sisters of the whole blood or nephews or nieces:
Unmarried person with children:
If one of your children were to have died before you then their children will take your deceased child's share.
Unmarried person with no children:
If you are divorced, consider yourself to be "common law" partners (there is no such legal state) or your civil partnership has not been solemnized or if your Will is invalid then your estate will be divided in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. No matter how simple you consider your affairs to be, everyone should have a Will to avoid unnecessary upset on death.
We've listed the areas we can advise on in detail but we don't want to waste your valuable time. If you're not sure whether we can help, just email us or call on 0845 833 9025. We're happy to have a look at your issues and confirm if we can help.