What happens if I don't have a Will?
If a person dies without a Will they are said to die intestate and their possessions will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. This means that their estate must be shared out according to certain guidelines. This also happens if they have made a Will but it is invalid. It is only married or civil partners and some other close relatives that can inherit under the rules of intestacy. Statutory rules often mean that some family members and loved ones will be provided for but without a valid Will other decisions like who administers the estate may not be covered. Read more about intestacy from Citizen's Advice.
If you’re not sure about some of the terminology related to estate planning then we have a handy glossary of terms. Find out more about inheritance when someone dies without a Will at GOV.uk.
- A property purchase
Whether it's a first time house purchase or a sentimental family home, a property is usually the most valuable asset in a person's estate. Creating a Will can protect the home's value and makes sure that it ends up with the right person. Our trusted will writing provider APS Legal & Associates say:
"If a person owns their home together with someone else, or if they want their current spouse or civil partner to have the right to live in the home but the underlying value to pass to the children, it’s best to take legal advice on the creation of the Will."
- The birth of a child
As well as the distribution of financial assets, a Will stipulates who will look after a child under the age of 18 as their legal guardian if something were to happen to the Will holder. It is essential to create one upon the birth of a child.
If someone already holds a Will when they get married it is likely to become invalid, or revoked, after the wedding unless a new Will is created or there is obvious instruction in the current Will to prevent a revocation by marriage. Unless a new Will is created, the assets would be distributed under the intestacy rules if the person were to pass away.
Living with another person does not have any of the same legal recognition as a married couple would because an unmarried partner does not have any legal right to inherit anything if their partner dies. A Will would allow an unmarried couple to leave their estate to each other.
APS Legal & Associates offer this expertise when it comes to Wills and divorce; "Until a divorce is final, the couple will still be viewed as married from the point of view of the intestacy rules, meaning that the spouse will inherit a large portion of your estate unless you have an updated, and therefore valid Will in place."
Once a divorce is finalised, any reference to the ex-spouse in an existing Will is invalid but the rest of the Will remains effective. If a person still wants their ex-spouse to inherit under their Will, they will need to create a new Will.
With our trusted third party partner, APS Legal & Associates, a Will with The Nottingham is £149, but for qualifying members a Will costs £109 as part of our Member Rewards loyalty programme. Visit your nearest branch and speak to an adviser about creating your Will and protecting your assets and family today.
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