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Grant of probate
When you appoint executors in your will, they should be the type of people who will apply for the Grant of Probate promptly and administer your estate as efficiently as possible.
If you die without a will, the intestacy rules dictate who can administer your estate. These will not necessarily be the person you would want to have such power over your estate.
Beneficiaries sometimes find themselves faced with uncommunicative executors who fail to administer the estate correctly. In such cases, our probate lawyers can advise on the various courses of action to consider when wishing to resolve the appointment of a wrong executor both before or after the Grant has been obtained.
Such options can result in unnecessary costs and stress to the beneficiaries, therefore it is preferable to prevent the intestacy rules applying by preparing a well-drafted and concise will and by choosing your executors wisely.
If you have a partner, but are not married and have not entered into a civil partnership, you have, broadly speaking, no automatic rights to your partner's estate if they die without making a will.
In essence, if your partner dies without making a will, the intestacy rules will determine what happens to their assets. However, as you might expect, there are some exceptions to these rules. For example, if you have a joint bank account with your partner you will usually get all the money in the account under the "survivorship rules".
If you own a house together as "joint tenants" you will own the entire house; but this is not automatically the case if you hold the house as "tenants in common", because your partner's share in the property will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules.
If you have any children together, all your partner's other assets will bypass you and go to your children. If there are no children at the time of your partner's death, the assets will pass to their parents. If the parents are no longer alive, they will to go to one of the following (in this order): brother/sister, half brother/half sister, grandparents, uncle/ aunt and so on.
If no relatives, however distant, are alive, your partner's assets will pass to the Crown, unless you can prove — which is not easy — that your partner owned an asset (or part of an asset) on your behalf.
It may be possible to bring a claim against your partner's estate for a share of their assets under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Claims can be made under a number of categories which our team of experienced lawyers can explain and explore on your behalf.
Clearly it is better to avoid the heartache of making such a claim if you both make a will now but if you don't, our private client lawyers can offer clear guidance and support and will explore what options you may have to pursue a claim to receive some or all of your partner's estate.