Do I need to make a Will?

October 26th 2023

When a person dies without a Will the intestacy rules determine how their estate will be administered. These rules are set out in legislation dating back to 1925, the Administration of Estates Act 1925.  The Act determines not only who will inherit but also who is entitled to administer the estate. 

Whilst the Act has been amended over the years, and as recently as July 2023, some may consider it is largely out of date.  It does not allow for modern family arrangements and limits what a surviving spouse or civil partner may receive from the deceased’s estate. 

Under the Act those who can inherit are blood relatives only (those closest to the deceased having a higher priority over those who are not so close).  If there are no blood relatives, the estate will ultimately pass to the Crown. 

Unmarried partners, regardless of how long they may have been together with the deceased, have no right to inherit under the Act.  Surviving spouses or civil partners will be entitled to a Statutory Legacy of £322,000 (previously £270,000 before 26 July 2023) and all of the personal possessions of the deceased.  What happens to the rest of the estate depends on whether or not the deceased had any children or grandchildren. 

If you would like to seek further advice from one of our specialist team members to discuss your own circumstances and how making a Will may benefit you, please contact us. 

Intestacy – who inherits if someone dies without making a will?