What happens when you die without leaving a Will (i.e. you die intestate)? If there is no Will written when you die then you die intestate. This will mean that property or assets automatically pass onto your next of kin.
When soul singer Amy Winehouse tragically died in 2011, her parents received her recorded £3m fortune even though she did not leave a Will. But this was because her parents were her next of kin.
Stieg Larsson, the Swedish author of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, had an estate thought to be worth £20m. However, he died without leaving a Will. Therefore, his entire estate was handed to his family and his partner of 32 years received nothing. This was due to the fact that Larrson and his partner, Eva Gabrielsson, never married. Everything he earnt and worked for defaulted to his estranged family. Five years later the animosity between the two parties continues to rumble on.
Plenty more famous people have died without making a Will including Jill Dando, whose estate went to her father and brother and not her fiancé. Heath Ledger, Bob Marley, Barry White and Pablo Picasso to name just a few, all of these have left behind a legacy of controversy amongst family and relations all battling it out for a share of a fortune.
An unmarried person has no rights under intestate law and their estate will pass automatically to their next of kin if they have not made a Will. However, a cohabitee could make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 but it is far more prudent to have a Will safely in place.
In order to avoid all this angst and acrimony within your family make a step towards making your Will today and once you have begun this process you can relax safe in the knowledge that you have done the right thing for your family and your partner.
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