In most cases when a family member dies, they leave their wishes on how to divide up their estate in a will. When they don’t leave a will, however, intestacy rules take over.
This will should also contain who they name as their executor. The executor will then need to apply to begin the process of Probate from the Government. With that, they have the right to settle the testator’s affairs and execute their will to the best of their ability.
Intestacy means no will to execute
However, if there’s no will to execute (known as ‘dying intestate’), then the process faces complications. Loved ones might have inheritance disputes, at which time hiring contested wills and probate solicitors can help you receive what you deserve from your loved one’s estate.
What Does it Mean if Your Loved One Didn’t Leave a Will
In short, if a family member doesn’t leave a will to dictate the affairs of their estate, the legal system takes over.
(On this, it’s also worth noting that the rules on intestacy changed at the start of February 2020).
This can, at times, mean that those that the deceased would not have wanted to receive anything from their estate will do.
It is also worth remembering that the laws as to who will receive the estate of someone who died intestate differ between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You will need to contact a solicitor to see if you have grounds for contesting a will as laid out by the law in the country you live in. If the testator lives in a different country from the UK though, the intestacy laws of that country will apply.
What Steps Should You Take for Intestacy
If the testator dies part of intestacy, you will need to follow these steps:
- Apply to be the administrator or executor of the testator’s estate. This is the same as applying for Probate, except you will need to fill out a different form when applying.
- You will need to prove a close relationship, for example, a spouse or child.
- If your application is accepted, you will receive what is known as “letters of administration”. These will give you the right to deal with the testator’s estate.
There must be a legal connection between the deceased and the person who becomes their administrator. For instance, think of a partner who lives with the testator for decades, but doesn’t marry them. That partner doesn’t have the right, for example.
However, a separate spouse still wed to the testator does. This is arguably an area of the law that needs updating in order to reflect today’s society and modern relationships.
If you are a long-term partner of the testator, contact a specialist solicitor. Accordingly, you can then fight the ruling and make a valid claim towards your dependency.
What Happens if There Are No Close Living Relatives?
If the testator does not have a spouse or direct relatives, then their estate will belong to the Crown or government. This is done under the law Bona Vacantia.
How we can help
At The Inheritance Experts, we work with specialist law firms. They have a proven track record helping people when a family member dies intestate. As a result, they’re capable of helping you get the proportion of the estate you rightfully deserve.
Do you think you have grounds to contest a will? Do you want to know if you have a realistic claim? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Inheritance Experts. Be sure to do so via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8763.