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Intestacy

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21 November, 23
Great Interaction
Great interaction. I had a simple question which would have cost a fortune going to see a local solicitor. It was all very professional but still friendly. The solicitor I spoke to was the chief executive of her law firm (I looked her up on LinkedIn). You are dealing with very good lawyers who earn additional money through Lawhive. I would definitely use this service again. Highly recommend.
Mark,
29 December, 23
The solicitor who was appointed to me was outstanding
Very simple to engage with instant confirmation in writing straight after. Daniel, the solicitor who was appointed to me, was outstanding in his approach, his understanding of the technicalities of the law and, crucially, a genuine care for the client. Would definitely advise using Lawhive, you won't regret it.
Tahir Idris,
04 October, 23
We were so pleased to find the Lawhive website
After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
Julie Taylor,
01 June, 23
Fast and professional
I got the outcome I wanted regarding cease and desist to a competitor spreading defamatory statements about my business. Fast and professional, and at a much lower price than high street firms. Highly recommended thanks.
Jason Hunter,
23 July, 23
Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
Pauline Piper,
15 February, 23
The service was fast and ultra professional
Sonay was really informative and understood my questions instantly, what I thought was complex Sonay simplified massively. She regularly checked in and the service was fast and ultra professional. Would highly recommend.
Jamie Crichton,
09 November, 23
Great service and very reasonably priced,
Great service and very reasonably priced, Kem was really helpful and professional. Would use again
Sarah Shanks,
21 November, 23
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About

Intestacy is the state of a person's estate when they die without leaving a will. The law of intestacy determines who will inherit the estate of a person who dies without a will. Solicitors can ensure that the estate is distributed in accordance with the law.Next steps

How much does help with Intestacy cost?

The cost for a licensed solicitor to help with Intestacy is dependent on many factors including the complexity and specific requirements of the case. On average it is expected to range from £200-£300 but in some cases it could cost as much as £400.

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Intestacy Solicitors

When a loved one dies without a will, the distribution of their estate becomes governed by the laws of intestacy. 

In the UK, dying intestate (without a valid will) can create a host of challenges and uncertainties for surviving family members. 

The rules of intestacy are complex and can vary significantly depending on the size and structure of the family.

For instance, if there is a surviving spouse, children, or other close relatives, the estate is divided according to specific legal entitlements, which might not align with what the deceased would have wanted.

This can lead to disputes among family members over who is entitled to what, straining relationships, and dragging out the settlement of the estate.

If you’re facing this situation our network of experienced probate solicitors is well-versed in UK intestacy laws and provides clear guidance on your rights and entitlements, ensuring you understand the legal process and the steps involved in settling the estate.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and discover how we can help you.

What is intestacy?

Intestacy happens when someone dies without leaving a valid will.

In the absence of a will, the distribution of their assets—such as property, money, and personal belongings—must follow a predetermined legal framework known as the intestacy rules.

These rules are strict and do not take into account any personal relationships or wishes the deceased may have had, which can lead to unexpected and often unwelcome outcomes for the family.

Who can administer an intestate estate?

The person who manages and distributes the estate of someone who has died intestate is known as the administrator.

Their role is similar to that of an executor named in a will, but they are appointed under intestacy rules.

The rules of intestacy in the UK specify a priority order for who can be appointed as the administrator of the estate.

This order generally follows the hierarchy of closest relatives:

  1. Surviving spouse or civil partner

  2. Children

  3. Parents of the deceased

  4. Siblings

The order continues with more distant relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

To legally administer an intestate estate, the appointed administrator must obtain a document called "Letters of Administration" from the Probate Registry. This grants them the authority to manage and distribute the estate.

How is an intestate estate distributed?

When someone dies without a valid will, their estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy. 

If the deceased leaves only a surviving spouse or civil partner, they inherit the entire estate. 

If the deceased leaves no surviving spouse or civil partner, the entire estate is divided equally among their biological or legally adopted children. 

If the deceased leaves a surviving spouse or civil partner and children, the spouse or civil partner inherits all personal possessions, a fixed amount (statutory legacy), and half of the remaining estate. The remaining half of the estate is divided equally among the deceased’s children. 

If there is no surviving spouse, civil partner, or children, the estate is distributed to other relatives like parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. 

Who inherits if there are no surviving relatives?

If there are no surviving relatives who qualify under the intestacy rules, the estate is declared "bona vacantia," meaning it belongs to the Crown.

The Treasury Solicitor manages these estates and can make payments to individuals or organisations who might have expected to inherit or benefit from the deceased’s estate.

How is property treated in an intestate estate?

Property owned as joint tenants passes automatically to the surviving joint tenant(s) regardless of intestacy rules.

Property owned as tenants in common does not pass by survivorship but is distributed according to the intestacy rules or the deceased’s share passes through their estate.

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Can a common-law partner inherit under intestacy rules?

So-called common-law partners don’t have the same inheritance rights as married couples or civil partners. If one partner dies without a will, the surviving partner does not automatically inherit any part of the estate.

This can leave surviving common-law partners in a vulnerable financial position, especially if they rely on the deceased for support or shared significant assets.

How long does the intestacy process take?

The timeline for administering an intestate generally takes between 6 to 12 months, but it can take longer. 

The Probate Registry typically takes 8 to 12 weeks to process the application and issue the Letters of Administration, but delays can occur if certain documents are not readily available or there are administrative backlogs at the Probate Registry. 

The administrator must then pay any outstanding debts, taxes, and administration expenses, which can take 4 to 8 weeks.

Once debts and taxes are settled, the administrator distributes the remaining estate assets to the beneficiaries according to the rules of intestacy. This final stage typically takes between 4 to 12 weeks.

Can intestacy rules be challenged?

Intestacy rules themselves are set by law and cannot be directly challenged, however, there are several ways in which beneficiaries or other interested parties can address perceived injustices or seek a fairer distribution of the estate. 

These include: 

What is the role of a solicitor in intestacy matters?

Engaging a solicitor experienced in intestacy matters can provide invaluable support and guidance throughout the administration of the estate. A wills, trust, and probate solicitor can: 

  1. Provide legal advice and guidance on the rules of intestacy and how they apply to the deceased’s estate.

  2. Help you apply for Letters of Administration.

  3. Assist in valuing and managing the estate.

  4. Review claims from creditors and ensure valid debts are paid.

  5. Calculate and pay any inheritance tax, income tax, or other taxes due.

  6. Oversee the distribution of the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the rules of intestacy. 

  7. Represent clients in court to resolve disputes related to the administration or distribution of the estate. 

  8. Draft and review legal agreements. 

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to discuss your needs in managing an intestate estate and explore how we can assist you.

The passing of a loved one without a will can leave families facing a maze of legal complexities and emotional challenges. Intestacy rules govern the distribution of the estate, which may not align with the deceased’s wishes or family expectations.

These rules can result in unexpected or unwelcome outcomes, especially when they overlook close but non-legal relationships like common-law partners or stepchildren.

Administering an intestate estate involves understanding who has the right to inherit, managing the legal process of applying for Letters of Administration, and ensuring the fair and legal distribution of assets.

This process can be lengthy and fraught with potential disputes over asset ownership, beneficiary entitlements, or the conduct of the estate’s administrator.

At Lawhive, we specialise in providing clear, expert guidance through these intricate processes.

Our network of experienced probate solicitors offers comprehensive support at every stage of administering an intestate estate.

Whether you need help understanding your rights, applying for administrative authority, managing estate assets, or resolving disputes, we’re here to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Why choose Lawhive?

  • Expert legal guidance:  Our solicitors are well-versed in UK intestacy laws and can help you understand your entitlements and navigate the complexities of the process.

  • Efficient and supportive service: From handling applications for Letters of Administration to managing asset distribution and resolving conflicts, we provide end-to-end support tailored to your needs.

  • Cost-effective solutions: Combining advanced technology with professional legal expertise, we offer high-quality services at a fraction of the cost of traditional law firms.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Let us help you manage the challenges of intestacy and ensure a fair and lawful administration of the estate.

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