What if someone dies and we can’t find a will?


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    What if someone dies and we can’t find a will?
    November 7, 2022

    If a loved one dies and you can’t find a will, you might be dealing with an intestacy. This can be a complicated process, where who inherits and how much depends on the individual circumstances of the deceased, including whether they had a spouse and children. Listen to our experts, Jennifer White and Beth King, explain what happens in this situation in the video below.

    If you need to make a will, or have an existing will that needs updating, contact Beth King today on 020 8313 1300 or  beth.king@marsons.co.uk.

    What if someone dies and we can’t find a will?

    A conversation with Marsons Partners, Beth King and Jennifer White


    J: What if someone dies and we can’t find a will?

    B:  Well the first thing is obviously to make sure you’ve had a good look around the house, and if you’ve found all their important documents but there’s no sign of a will, or a copy of a will, and you think that they must have made one, then it would be a good idea to contact local solicitors to see if they’ve got a will. If you’ve found any documents or correspondence from solicitors about any legal matter, perhaps a house purchase or something, then contact them because it’s possible they have a will.

    If you reach the point where you think there really isn’t a will, then you may be dealing with what we call an intestacy – so they didn’t leave a will. Then you have to look to the legal rules that set out who should inherit in those circumstances, where there is no will . There are legal rules that set out the order in which people inherit. So it’s normally the spouse or civil partner who would get the bulk of it. If there are children, then the spouse doesn’t quite get all of it, they get the first £270,000 and then they get half of what’s left and the children get the other half of what’s left.

    J: Yes, so intestacy is much more complicated than if you’d had a will to begin with?

    B: Yes it is, because when you’ve left a will you’ve appointed executors, so you know who’s going to deal with the estate, but if it’s an intestacy then the people who are entitled to inherit will normally be the people who are also entitled to get what’s called a grant of letters of administration.


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    The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.