Why you should write a Will

15th May 2023

Philippa Wright

Over the weekend I read an article in the Times about long lost relatives inheriting after their relatives have died alone.  There are all sorts of reasons why families become estranged even though modern technology enables us to communicate across the world with ease.

The article reminds readers that if they don’t make a Will then the rules of intestacy apply.  If there is no Will and no relatives, then the money goes to the Crown.  Apparently, there are 6,500 unclaimed estates on the Bona Vacantia (unclaimed goods) list which is issued by the Government Legal department.

No one likes to think about the inevitable. But it is really worth being mindful of the pitfalls of dying without a valid Will. Figures suggest nearly two thirds of British adults do not have a Will.

Those who die without leaving a Will have their estate dealt with in accordance with the rules of intestacy. The current rules provide that married or civil partners inherit:

The remaining estate is distributed to children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives in a certain order of priority.

If you die without a surviving married or civil partner or relatives, your estate will become ‘bona vacantia’ meaning it passes to the Crown.

Some of the risks of dying intestate include:

This is further compounded by the fact that if you have not provided for someone who is dependent on you, that person will have to go through the difficult process of making an application to the court for funds from your estate.  This costs time, money and has the risk of being unsuccessful.


If you do leave a Will, you name one or more executors, who are people entitled to deal with your estate. They are authorised to deal with your assets from the date of death.  They may need to obtain a Grant of Probate to deal with some assets, a fairly straightforward process.

However, where there is no Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration is needed. This can be more time consuming and costly for anyone wishing to deal with your estate.  Technically no action can be taken with any of your assets until the Grant is issued.

Don’t leave it too late. We would strongly recommend you write a Will to provide for what happens after you’ve gone.  It may not be as expensive as you think and we will do our best to make the process as simple and easy as possible for you.

We are always here to help. Please call 0161 928 3848 or email mch@mchaleandco.co.uk.

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