Many people still die in this country without leaving a will. The laws of intestacy are strict and dictate that the estate must be divided only between certain blood relatives of the deceased, all of whom must be located. If nobody can be found, all monies go to the Treasury. But in most cases there are often a number of living (if distant) relatives who are entitled to a share of the proceeds - if only they could be identified and found. Genealogical research will locate such people and enable monies to go to the rightful blood heirs instead of to the Crown. Similar work can also be undertaken on behalf of solicitors attempting to wind up clients' estates and who are in need copies of birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as grants of probate and administration.
Did you Know?
- The Treasury collects millions of pounds annually from intestate estates where no relatives can be found to inherit.
- We still have national will-writing weeks to encourage people to not die intestate.
- If your affairs are relatively simple, a home-made will may be sufficient, as long as it is drawn up properly.
Frequently Asked Questions - Intestacy & Legal Searches
What is intestacy?
It is where somebody dies without having made a will, or whose will cannot be found, but who leaves an estate worth clearing up and distributing. The Treasury Solicitor takes over the assets for up to 12 years pending a claim by an entitled relative to act as a personal representative.
Who may inherit from an intestate estate?
Descendants of grandparents in a strict pecking order, which starts with spouse, children and siblings and may extend to distant cousins several times removed.
Who is excluded from an intestate estate?
Common-law partners, step-relatives, people who have married into the family (e.g. aunts by marriage), and everybody not related by blood to the deceased.
Do you have another question? Contact: Dr David Wright
"Dr Wright's long experience as a genealogist and people-finder stood us in very good stead as beneficiaries. We had despaired of completing the family tree for the solicitor, and were consequently delighted with his results." D.L. & M.L., Tenterden
"The family was delighted in how Dr Wright was able to find several lost relatives in order that a family estate could be wound up." J.C., Sandwich
"David Wright provided an efficient and speedy service in establishing a full family tree." Mrs B.H., Rochester