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As uncomfortable as it may be, it is crucial to consider what will happen to your assets and possessions after you pass away. Planning for what happens to your assets after you die will secure your legacy and ensure that your loved ones are completely taken care of. 

Without proper planning though, your assets may be distributed according to default rules rather than your personal wishes, and this can potentially lead to disputes and legal challenges among your beneficiaries.

In this post, we will be exploring the important topic of intestacy, discussing what it means to die intestate, looking at the laws of intestacy in the UK, and highlighting the importance of writing a will. Continue reading to learn more.

What Does Dying Intestate Mean?

Essentially, dying intestate means passing away without a valid will left in place. When a person dies intestate, their assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. This means that the government decides who inherits the deceased person’s property, money, and possessions.

In the UK, the rules of intestacy can be complicated, and they may not reflect the wishes of the deceased. Therefore, it’s essential to have a valid will left in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away.

Understanding the Laws of Intestacy in the UK

In the UK, the laws of intestacy determine who inherits the assets of an individual who dies without leaving a valid will. These laws are in place to ensure that the deceased’s assets are distributed fairly among their family members. The laws of intestacy vary depending on the family situation of the deceased. 

If the deceased is married or in a civil partnership, the spouse or partner will typically inherit the entire estate if there are no children. If there are children, the spouse or partner will usually inherit the first £270,000 of the estate and half of the remaining assets. 

The other half of the remaining assets will be divided equally among the children. If the deceased was not married or in a civil partnership, their children will inherit the entire estate equally. 

If there are no surviving children or partner, the estate will be inherited by the deceased’s parents. If the parents are not alive, the estate will go to siblings, and if there are no siblings, the estate will be inherited by other relatives. If no surviving relatives can be found, the estate will be passed to the Crown and the Treasury Solicitor will become responsible for dealing with it.

It is important to note that the laws of intestacy do not recognise unmarried partners, stepchildren or friends, and therefore these individuals will not inherit anything under the laws of intestacy.

Why it’s Important to Write a Will

Writing a will is crucial for anyone who wishes to have control over what happens to their assets and property after they pass away. Without a will, the rules of intestacy will apply, and the distribution of the assets will be determined by the law, which may not align with the deceased’s wishes. 

Having a will enables an individual to decide who will inherit their assets and in what proportions. This includes any property, money, possessions or investments owned at the time of death. It also allows individuals to appoint an executor of their choice who will be responsible for carrying out their wishes after their passing. 

In addition, writing a will can provide peace of mind to loved ones who may otherwise be left with the burden of dealing with complex legal issues at an already difficult time. By clearly outlining their wishes in a will, individuals can ensure that their assets are distributed in a timely and efficient manner, minimising the stress and anxiety for their loved ones.

Want to Book an Appointment to Create a Will with Gillhams Solicitors?

If you find yourself searching for a trusted wills and probate solicitor in London, then Gillhams Solicitors is the company to choose. We offer a wide range of Will Writing services, including Simple and complex wills, Codicils (minor changes to wills), Estate planning, and Statutory wills. 
Writing a will doesn’t have to be time-consuming and stressful; our lawyers can guide you through the process from start to finish, covering all bases thoroughly and sensitively. To obtain legal advice on will drafting and related matters, complete the form on our website, email us at, or call us on +44(0)20 8965 4266.