In most cases when a loved one dies, they leave their wishes on how to divide up their estate in a will. 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 so that they have the right to settle the deceased’s affairs and to execute their will to the best of their ability.
However, if there is no will to execute (known as ‘dying intestate’), then the process becomes more complicated. 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 your loved one did not leave a will behind to dictate how they wanted their estate was to be divided, then the choice is left up to the law (On this, it is 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 deceased lived in a different country of the United Kingdom to you though, the intestacy laws of that country will apply.
What Steps Should You Take if They Didn’t Leave a Will
If the deceased died intestate, you will need to follow these steps:
- Apply to be the administrator or executor of the deceased’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”, which will give you the right to deal with the deceased’s estate.
There must be a legal connection between the deceased and the person who becomes their administrator. A partner who has lived with the deceased for decades, but is not married, does not have the right, for example, but a separated but still legally married spouse, 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 deceased, you will need to contact a specialist solicitor so that you can fight the ruling and make a valid claim towards your dependency.
What Happens if There Are No Close Living Relatives?
If the deceased does not have a spouse or direct relatives, then the deceased’s 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 who have a proven track record in helping people when their loved one has died intestate. This means they are well-placed to help you get the proportion of the estate you are entitled to.
If you believe you have grounds to contest a will and want to know if you have a realistic claim, do not hesitate to get in touch with The Inheritance Experts via the contact form on our website or by calling 0161 413 8763.