It is becoming a little rare to find someone who does not have a will when they die. If someone does die without a will this is known as dying intestate. There are specific rules which relate to this situation. Whilst these resolve the situation this is not necessarily to the satisfaction of everyone concerned. Even if someone does not have any relatives or friends they would like to leave assets to, it can be still useful to create a will leaving money to a charity.

It is an individual's own choice if they wish to make a will, it is just that if someone does not have a will working out who inherits the assets can become more complex.

The rules of intestacy say that if someone dies without a surviving spouse or civil partner their estate is to be distributed in the following way.

  • Firstly to their surviving children in equal shares.
  • If they do not have any children then to their surviving parents, their own brothers and sisters or to their children if their parents have predeceased the person who has recently died.
  • If they do not have any brothers and sisters then the assets pass to half brothers or half sisters.
  • If none of these are alive then their assets may pass to the grandparents.
  • If no grandparents then to their aunts and uncles or to their half uncles and half aunts.
  • If no one can be found to inherit their assets these pass to the Crown.

We would suggest someone does consider making a will. Either it will give someone a pleasant surprise that they have received a gift from someone.

Alternatively, a charity may benefit from someone's generosity.

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