What happens if someone dies without a Will?
My partner has died without a Will. We were due to get married later in the year. Am I entitled to receive anything from his estate?
When someone dies without a Will, their estate will pass in accordance with the rules of intestacy which may not be what they would have wanted. Unfortunately, the rules of insectary do not provide for a partner unless you were married and therefore you will not inherit any of your partner’s assets. This includes your partner’s personal possessions.
If your partner dies leaving children or other close relatives such as parents or siblings, they will inherit your partner’s estate. If your partner was legally married but separated, such spouse would also benefit under the intestacy rules. Furthermore, you will be unable to manage your partner’s affairs as only those who inherit the estate are legally entitled to do so.
You will however, automatically receive by the rules of survivorship, any assets you and your partner held jointly as what is known as Joint Tenants. Bank accounts are most commonly held in this way. Property can also be held as Joint Tenants but if the property was held as what is known as Tenants in Common, then your partner’s share will not pass to you automatically, but will pass under the rules of intestacy to their closest living relatives. This could cause problems if those beneficiaries want the property to be sold so they can receive their share of the net proceeds of sale.
Your partner may have other assets which pass outside of their estate but because you were not married, you may not be entitled to them. Such assets include pensions and life insurance policies which are often paid at the discretion of the pension provider or life insurance company. Some of these pensions and policies will only pay to a surviving spouse or financial dependant. You would need to show that you were financially dependant on your partner and provide evidence of this.
Notwithstanding the above, you may be entitled to claim against your partner’s estate under what is known as the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 if certain criteria are met. However, this can be costly and there is no guarantee that your claim will be successful.
Watson Thomas Solicitors have offices in Fleet, Guildford, Bracknell, Camberley, Farnborough and Woking.
Watson Thomas are a dedicated team of Family Lawyers who specialise in all aspects of family law. If you have any questions regarding Probate, Estate Administration or Wills, please do get in touch.
Our staff can work from home and access all systems so even if all are required to self-isolate this will not affect the day-to-day running of your case. We can also hold appointments via telephone and video conferencing, as needs be, to ensure that your service is not interrupted.
If you would like to discuss your current situation with an expert family lawyer, please call us on 0800 488 0218.