The problems of intestacy – a case in point


Where a person doesn’t make a will, it can often cause tension and squabbles among beneficiaries after their death.

This is particularly so where the deceased leaves behind a considerable amount of money, either in cash or tied up in trusts or property.

Such was the case when a wealthy widow died, leaving not just a property but an entire estate. She had two sons, one of whom still lived on the estate, independently.

Although the rules of intestacy state that both brothers should have been entitled to administer and benefit from the estate mutually and equally, what in fact happened was that without any discussion, one brother applied for the grant of letters of administration, without mentioning the other.

To be sensible and fair, the two brothers, once equally responsible for administering the estate, would then have had the additional discussion of how they wanted to divide the assets between them.

Instead, the second brother was both confused and anxious about whether or not he would be involved in the process at all and how to go about asking for a share of the estate, without upsetting the other brother.

The second brother was advised that if his sibling continued to refuse to cooperate, then legal action should be taken and ultimately, his brother could be removed as personal representative.

All of this was of course completely unnecessary and was a split which wouldn’t have happened, if their mother had quite simply made a will, detailing who should receive what as opposed to dying intestate in the UK

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