Where there’s a Will there’s a way:- The importance of making a Will and what happens to your Estate if you die without one

Importance of having a valid will in force

Having a valid will in place, drawn up by a professional, specialist lawyer, allows you to control, what will happen to your assets after your days. It allows you to have the peace of mind of having a legally binding document in place that removes the uncertainty of what will happen to your assets after your days. 

Your will can allow you to –
Set out who you wish to benefit from your Estate; this could be certain family members, relatives or charitable causes
Appoint trusted people as your Executors to deal with administering your Estate 
Appoint certain people to act as “Trustees” to look after money for any underage beneficiaries 
Stipulate clearly who you would like to appoint as the Guardian/s of your children (under the age of 18)
Gift items that are sentimental to you such as jewellery, antiques, painting, to specific individuals 
Set out any particular Funeral Wishes or requirements that you may have
Set up different types of Trusts, such as Life Interest, Discretionary Trust
What happens if you die without having a valid will in force?
If someone dies without a valid Will in force they are referred to as dying “intestate” meaning the law dictates who deals with an Estate and how assets are distributed. 

The intestacy rules set out the order of who is most entitled, which is as follows:- 
Spouse of the deceased (first £322,000 remainder divided equally between spouse and children)
If no spouse, children of the deceased (or their issue) 
If no children, parents of the deceased (or their issue)
If no parents, whole blood siblings of the deceased (or their issue)
If no whole blood siblings, half-blood siblings of the deceased (or their issue)
If no half-blood siblings, grandparents of the deceased  
If no grandparents, aunts or uncles of the deceased or their issue (cousins of the deceased),
If no aunts, uncles or their issue (cousins of deceased), the Crown  

The order of those that are entitled to benefit under the Intestacy Rules may sit uncomfortably with many readers who have lost contact with distant relatives or have an ongoing family dispute. There is also a common misconception that long-term partners would automatically benefit. Unfortunately, this is not the case and without a valid will in force, unmarried partners are not recognised under the intestacy rules.

Most importantly your will can be tailored to reflect your individual circumstances and wishes, rather than leaving important matters to chance.



Amy Thomas

Associate Solicitor working in the Private Client department at Watkins and Gunn Solicitors.

Amy assists clients in a range of Later Life matters and has gained significant experience in will drafting, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate matters. She joined Watkins and Gunn Solicitors as a trainee solicitor in November 2016, before qualifying into the Private Client in November 2018. In February 2022 Amy became a Dementia Friend and a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly in July 2022. Amy was promoted to an Associate in January 2023 and currently heads up one of the Watkins and Gunn sub brands, Watkins and Green.

Watkins and Gunn Solicitors are an award winning, values driven law firm offering a range of legal services from our offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool. We strive to deliver clear and concise solutions to our clients’ legal issues and pride ourselves on being approachable and trusted legal advisors.