What happens if there is no will?

The death of a loved one is a distressing and emotional time, and this can be worsened if they have not made a will detailing their wishes.

If the deceased has not made a will, their estate must be administered in compliance with the Laws of Intestacy. Instead of a Grant of Probate, those entitled to administer the estate may require Letters of Administration. Below, we delve further into what happens is there is no will.

Who is entitled to inherit the estate?

If the deceased is survived by only a spouse or civil partner, the entire estate passes to them.

Where they are survived by both spouse or civil partner and issue*, the estate is distributed as follows: –

  1. The spouse or civil partner receives the personal belongings
  2. The spouse or civil partner receives a statutory legacy of £270,000 free of tax and costs plus interest from the date of death until payment
  3. The rest of the estate is divided in half One half passes to the spouse or civil partner whilst the other half passes to the issue

Where there is no surviving spouse or civil partner, the estate is divided between the relatives in the highest category in the list below:

  1. The deceased’s issue
  2. The deceased’s parents
  3. Brothers and sisters of whole blood or their issue if they have died before the deceased
  4. Brothers and sisters of half-blood and their issue if they died before the deceased
  5. The grandparents of the deceased
  6. Aunts and uncles of whole blood and their issue if they died before the deceased
  7. Aunts and uncles of half-blood and their issue if they died before the deceased
  8. The Crown, Duchy of Lancaster, or Duke of Cornwall

Who is entitled to administer the estate?

The order for person or persons entitled to administer the estate is similar to the above and is as follows: –

  1. Surviving spouse or civil partner
  2. Children of the deceased and their issue if they have died before the deceased 
  3. The parents of the deceased
  4. Brothers and sisters of whole blood and their issue if they died before the deceased
  5. Brothers and sisters of half-blood and their issue if they died before the deceased
  6. The grandparents of the deceased
  7. Aunts and uncles of whole blood and their issue if they died before the deceased
  8. Aunts and uncles of half-blood and their issue if they died before the deceased
  9. Any person who has a beneficial interest in the estate
  10.  Treasury solicitor or a creditor of the deceased

If you are responsible for administering an estate, require information on estate administration, please read our quick guide on estate administration.

How we can help

We now hope you further understand what happens if there is no will however, at Mark Reynolds Solicitors, we provide a comprehensive range of probate services for our clients. We understand that dealing with an estate can seem like a daunting process, and our experienced and professional team can guide you through it. We can administer the estate in full on your behalf and we also offer a fixed fee grant of representation only service.

Call 01925 418 004 or contact us online to find out more.

*The term issue includes all direct descendants of a deceased individual: ie, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren etc. adopted children and their descendants, as are those whose parents were not married at the time of their birth. Descendants of the deceased’s spouse or civil partner are not classed as issue of the deceased unless adopted.