What to Do When Someone Dies Without a Will

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What to Do When Someone Dies Without a Will

The passing of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time. While death is inevitable, it doesn't make the grieving process any less challenging. Addressing matters after a close family member has died might seem like a daunting task, but it's necessary.

If a person does not create a Will, there will be no clarity about who the inheritance should go to. It's not uncommon for individuals to overlook making a Will. In fact, around 60% of adults in the UK have yet to establish a Will, which means over 30 million people are at risk of dying intestate. For more information on navigating the situation when someone dies without a Will, continue reading.


Why is it Important to Make a Will?

Regardless of how much money you have or your financial standing, making a Will is beneficial. It's recommended to create a Will, no matter your circumstances, to access its benefits.

Knowing that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes provides a sense of security for the future. When you fail to make a Will, specific rules dictate how your assets are managed posthumously, which may not align with your wishes.

Whether you are married or have a long-term partner, it's important to know if your other half has created a Will. Unfortunately, some surviving spouses only discover the absence of a Will after their partner's passing, which means they may not inherit everything.

Unmarried couples and those not in registered civil partnerships cannot inherit from each other without a Will in place. This absence of inheritance can lead to financial challenges for the surviving partner.

Having a Will is crucial if you have children. Although it’s not necessary to create a Will once you have children, it’s one of the best decisions you can make. Arrangements should be made in case one of both parents dies, and creating a Will means your children are protected if anything were to happen. The cost of creating a Will varies.


What Happens if You Die Without a Will?

If someone doesn't leave a Will behind, it essentially means that they haven't made it clear where their inheritance should go. The intestacy rules dictate who inherits when a Will has not been created.

Dealing with the passing of a loved one introduces unfamiliar terms like beneficiaries and executors. A beneficiary receives an inheritance, while an executor is legally responsible for managing the deceased's estate.

The term "estate" refers to the deceased's properties, belongings, and financial assets left behind. A specific process comes into play when someone passes without a Will. Only specific individuals are eligible to apply for probate or assume the role of administrator.

Applying for administrator status mirrors the probate application process. Next of kin, civil partners, and spouses of the deceased can apply for administrator roles. Children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings can also apply for administration, but there’s an order of priority.


How Long Can Probate Take Without a Will?

Probate can be a lengthy process without a Will, ranging from several months to a few years. Complexity increases the duration; cases involving foreign property ownership or intricate family dynamics can prolong the process.

While it's possible to manage probate independently, seeking guidance from a trusted solicitor is recommended. Solicitors provide expert assistance necessary during these times.


How Bell Lamb & Joynson Can Help

At Bell Lamb & Joynson,  our unparalleled Will and Probate services are unmatched. Our experienced specialists have been serving for many years, accumulating extensive expertise. Established in 1821, we possess over two centuries of industry knowledge.

Whether planning for the future or dealing with loss, rest assured that we will be by your side. Creating a Will is of utmost importance, and we guide you through the process, equipping you with essential information. While creating a Will might appear daunting, our support streamlines the process.

We provide a clear, fixed cost, meaning you’ll be able to stay in control of your spending at all times. Both past and present clients have praised our hard work, leaving excellent reviews. We remain on hand to answer any concerns or queries you may have; to speak directly with a member of our team, don’t hesitate to contact us today at

Jessica Flaherty

Jessica is Partner and heads our Private Client Team. Jessica graduated with a degree in Law from Liverpool John Moores University in 2012. Jessica completed her LPC at Liverpool John Moores University in 2013 and in 2021, she qualified as a Trust and Estate Practitioner having completed the STEP Diploma in Trust and Estates.

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