“What happens if I don’t have a Will?”
If you die without a Will or your Will is invalid, then, by law, your estate would be distributed in accordances with the ‘rules of intestacy’.
Even if you have a valid Will, if it is poorly drafted or out of date, your estate may still be wholly or partially intestate.
The diagram below explains how the rules of intestacy work in England and Wales.
You may be in for some surprises. For example, if you are married with children, then your spouse does not inherit everything automatically, he or she would only receive the first £250,000 and half of the remainder with the other half going to the children. In some circumstances this could mean that the marital home would have to be sold to pay the children’s inheritance. If you are not married or in a civil partnership, then your partner receives nothing and your estate could even go to some distant cousin you’ve never even met!
Writing a Will avoids these problems. Even if you have no close family, surely you’d prefer to leave your estate to a friend, relative or charity rather than letting the Crown take it all.