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What Happens To Your House If You Die Without A Will?

Depending on how you own your property, without a will, the law decides who inherits your house.

A will can ensure that your chosen beneficiaries receive your property when you pass away.

How Do You Own Your House?

You may own your house in your sole name or jointly with someone else. The way you own your home makes a big difference if you die without a Will in place.

Sole Name Owner

If you own your home in your sole name and die before making a Will, the rules of intestacy decide who inherits your house. These inheritance laws are strict and place your relatives in priority order – which may not be in accordance with your wishes when it comes to who you’d like to give your house to when you die.

Joint Tenants Owner

If you own your home jointly with another person, as Joint Tenants, this means you both own the property together as a whole and neither of you has an identifiable share. If you die without leaving a Will, your ownership of the property automatically transfers to the surviving joint owner.

Tenants In Common Owner

If you own your home jointly with another person, as Tenants in Common, this means you both own a specific share of the property. If you die without a Will in place, your co-owner would not automatically inherit your share of the house and instead your share would be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.

Rules Of Intestacy

The rules of intestacy are the inheritance laws that determine how a person’s estate is distributed when they die without a Will.

According to the rules of intestacy, your relatives are placed in the following order of priority for inheritance:

  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Children
  • Grandchildren or great grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Half aunts and uncles

The rules of intestacy are strict and don’t take into consideration every family set-up. For example, the laws do not consider unmarried partners or step-children, which can result in loved ones being overlooked even when the deceased wanted them to inherit.

Why Is A Will Important?

Making a Will enables you to express your wishes for loved ones after you die, to ensure they are looked after when you’re no longer able to care for them yourself.

In a Will, you can state exactly how you wish your possessions and assets, including your house, to be distributed when you die. This means you decide who gets what items – and not the law. You can care for loved ones by writing a Will and avoid any extra stress and disagreement for loved ones at what will be an already distressing time for them.

When it comes to your house, you can be detailed in terms of who you’d like it to pass to and how. For example, with a Property Trust Will, you can state that your share of your house, if you co-own it, or all of your house if you own it in your sole name, is to be left to your partner to live in during his or her lifetime before it passes to your children.

With a Will, you are able to take care of loved ones – and in the way you want to, too.

How We Can Help You With A Will

Our Wills and Probate solicitors are here to assist you with writing a Will or updating a Will, and will work hard to ensure your loved ones are taken care of in the best possible way as a result.

We will ensure we fully understand your situation and family arrangements before tailoring our advice and guidance on the factors to consider in your Will. With our help, you will be able to protect loved ones and their future after you die.  

To speak to one of our specialist solicitors about making or updating a Will, contact us on 0800 988 3674 or telephone our Hoole office on 01244 311 633 or email