Intestacy is the legal term for dying without a will. When someone dies intestate, their estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which can be complex and may not reflect the deceased person’s wishes. This can lead to a number of sad effects, including:

Your loved ones may not receive what you intended them to.

One of the most immediate and distressing consequences of intestacy is the distribution of the deceased person’s assets. In the absence of a will, the state’s laws will dictate how assets are divided among surviving family members. This often results in assets going to individuals whom the deceased may not have intended to inherit anything. For example, estranged family members or distant relatives may receive a portion of the estate, while close friends or favoured charities could be left with nothing.

Family conflict.

Intestacy can lead to heightened tensions and conflicts within families. When there is no clear guidance from a will, disagreements among surviving relatives can escalate quickly. These disputes can strain family relationships and lead to prolonged legal battles, further compounding the emotional toll of losing a loved one.

Your estate may be subject to inheritance tax.

If your estate is worth more than the inheritance tax threshold, the beneficiaries may have to pay inheritance tax on the amount that exceeds the threshold. This could be a significant financial burden for them.

The probate process may be more complicated and time-consuming than first thought.

The probate process is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate. When someone dies intestate, the probate process can be more complicated and time-consuming, as the executor of the estate will need to follow the intestacy laws. This can add to the stress and expense of dealing with the death of a loved one.

Dying intestate can have significant and sometimes sad consequences. It not only creates confusion and disputes among family members but also risks misallocating assets, leaving loved ones in financial distress, and negating charitable intentions. To avoid these heart-breaking outcomes, it is essential to create a clear and legally binding will. Taking the time to plan for the distribution of your assets and the care of your dependents can bring peace of mind and help ensure that your wishes are respected when you pass away.

If you want to avoid any of these issues, it is important to make a will as soon as possible. A will allows you to specify how you want your estate to be distributed and can help to ensure that your wishes are carried out.


Need help tracing beneficiaries in England & Wales?

Finders International are specialists in tracing next-of-kin to unclaimed estates. For further information on our probate research services, please contact us via our contact page, email: [email protected] or telephone: +44 (0) 20 7490 4935.