The consequences of not having a will and intestacy


Posted on: 29 November 2016 by Raymond Constanzo

If you happen to not have a will after you die, the future of your property, possessions and money is taken out of your hands

If you happen to not have a will after you die, the future of your property, possessions and money is taken out of your hands. There are some very important decisions that you need to think about when considering whether or not you need a will. Without a will you will not have an executor, and if there isn’t one then someone must be appointed to act as an administrator of your estate which has the potential to cause delays, frustration and even loss. As of 2015, studies have shown that around two thirds of adults have not made a will and a third will die intestate. If you are in need of more information regarding drawing up a will or the consequences of not having one, then these solicitors in Welwyn Garden City can help. Here are a few consequences that you need to consider before you decide to not having a will and intestacy for when you die.


Having a will can be important particularly when you have children. If your children are minors when you happen to pass, not having a will means that there is no opportunity to select guardians for your children. This means that the public guardian i.e. the government is likely to end up involved in deciding the fate of your children, rather than you being able to make that decision yourself. Any parent knows the importance of your children being with someone that you know will look after them, but not drawing up a will means that this will not be guaranteed. In addition to this, your children may not receive the amount of inheritance you want them to, if any at all, if you do not have a will and intestacy put in place for when you die. A family business may also not be able to stay within the family if the deceased does not have a will and intestacy in place, and this has the potential to be liquidised and cause future conflict.  


In England and Wales, the law states that the husband, wife or civil partner will keep all of the assets including property of up to £250,000, and all of the deceased’s personal possessions, whatever their value. The remainder of the estate, if worth more than £250,000 will then be shared, with the husband, wife or civil partner getting an absolute interest in half and the other half being divided equally between the surviving children. If there are no surviving children, but there are surviving grandchildren then they will inherit this half in their place. However, if you have a partner but you are not married or in a civil partnership, then there is no law ensuring they will receive any inheritance at all.

In the case of there not being a will, your inheritance may end up going to a distant family member that you do not even talk to. In this case, you can arrange for your inheritance to go to a charity rather than a family member, but only if you have a will and intestacy put in place. If the deceased has no family whatsoever for the inheritance to go to, including children, brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, and even half-brothers, half-sisters half-aunts and half-uncles, then the whole inheritance will go to the Crown.

There are many considerations to take into account when it comes to deciding whether you have a will and intestacy put in place, but without one here is a strong possibility that your children and partner will not receive the inheritance that you would like them to. This could ultimately evoke conflict, and in the case of minors, their future may be uncertain. 

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