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Why should I make a Will? What does dying "intestate" mean?

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Dying intestate means dying without a Will. 

You may think that you do not need to make a Will because your estate is only small or your loved ones will inherit anyway.  This is not always the case!

Strict legal rules determine who inherits your estate if you do not leave a Will and they may not always be what you would want.  Administering your estate in line with these rules can be costly and mean that your affairs take an extremely long time to sort out.

A recent example is the estate of Mrs X who died intestate at the end of 2017.  Not having a Will meant uncertainty about who was able to deal with the estate and who would inherit her estate worth approximately £600,000.

Without a Will to spell things out, a research company had to be instructed to trace the heirs who will benefit from her estate under the intestacy rules and work out what they will all receive.  This has taken over two years and cost tens of thousands of pounds. 

When the research company produced their report, it identified more than 50 individual beneficiaries who will each receive between 1/16th of a share and 1/576th of a share of the estate.  The cost and time involved of researching and administering such an estate is huge.  The beneficiaries, more than likely, never met Mrs X and will be remote and distant relatives. 

Had Mrs X made a Will she could have chosen executors to administer her estate and decided for herself who would have benefitted and in what shares.  Mrs X could have provided gifts to charity, friends and close relations rather than her estate being divided into very small shares between distant relatives who she never met.  The whole process of administering Mrs X’s estate would also have been much quicker and cheaper.

A Will should be part of your life plan and adults of all ages should have a Will to prevent dying intestate.  Please contact our Private Client team on 01925 230 000 or email to set up an appointment with one of our specialist Solicitors to discuss further.