What happens if I do not make a will?
It becomes necessary for your closest relative to apply to the Probate Court for what is called "Grant of Administration". If the Court is satisfied with the formal documentation lodged with them, a sealed court certificate (called "Letters of Administration") will be issued and that will be full authority for the named person to collect in the assets of the deceased.
There is a strict "pecking order" of beneficiaries depending upon whether the deceased left a husband or wife and whether or not there were children. If for example there is a widow and there are children then the first £250,000 of value is paid to the widow plus the personal household items and the rest of the estate is divided into two halves:
One half is shared immediately between the children and the other half is held on trust so that the widow receives the income for life after which it is divided between the children. This usually is a most unsatisfactory arrangement and can have very unfortunate financial consequences for the widow. It would be the direct result of the deceased having failed to protect his family by making a will.
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