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What happens if you die without leaving a Will?

When a person dies without leaving a Will, they are described as having died intestate and their estate will be administered in accordance with the rules of intestacy.  This may mean that the estate will not pass to people they had wanted.

At mfg we have a team of specialist legal advisors who can assist and advise you when someone has died intestate.

Follow our flowchart on how estates are distributed according to the rules of intestacy.

What happens with Jointly owned Assets on death?

Assets held jointly can either be owned as joint tenants or tenants in common.

If you own land or property as beneficial joint tenants when you die, the survivor/s will automatically inherit your share. When this happens the assets are described as passing by ‘‘survivorship’’.

If you own the property as tenants in common, your co-owner/s will not automatically inherit your share in the land or property and instead your share will be distributed in accordance with the terms of your Will or the rules of intestacy if you do not have a Will.

Bank accounts held jointly automatically pass by survivorship to the surviving account holder. This can often cause problems when all the funds actually belong to the deceased.

Who cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy?

The following individuals have no right to inherit from a deceased’s estate if they die intestate:-

  • Unmarried partners (this includes co-habiting couples and partners not in a civil partnership);
  • Relations by marriage;
  • Close friends; and
  • Carers

If you do not inherit under the rules of intestacy you may be able to bring a claim against the deceased’s estate. Our contentious probate specialists can provide you with more advice in this regard. You contact our Contentious Probate team directly by emailing Partner and Head of Contentious Probate, Robert Weston.