At Stephens Scown, we recommend making a resolution this year to write a Will or update your existing Will so that it reflects your wishes and benefits the people you care about.

Writing or updating your Will

Research continues to show that over half of the UK’s adult population have not written a Will. This means that if the worst happens, they will die ‘intestate’.

What does ‘intestate’ mean?

When a person dies ‘intestate’, their property is shared out according to the ‘rules of intestacy’ rather than distributed as they might have wished.

These rules are fixed, and the only way to challenge them would be to make a Court application. So, people dying intestate are potentially storing up significant problems and stresses for the people they might have most wanted to benefit, who could end up losing a lot of money as a result.

Those who could miss out on inheritance include unmarried partners, close friends, carers or relations by marriage. Many people do not realise that:

  • where a couple are not married or in a civil partnership, that the surviving partner has no right to any part of their deceased partner’s estate under the intestacy rules; or
  • that if a married couple or a couple in a civil partnership have not made Wills that the survivor is not always entitled to inherit the whole of their deceased partner’s estate.

It is devastating to see people left behind struggling and subsequently having to apply to the Court for financial provision from an estate.

If you have not written a Will it can lead to arguments and bitterness. Writing a Will can save your family from falling out following your death.

To avoid being one of the thousands of people who die intestate in the UK you should write a Will.

So, what can you to do about it?

Make it your New Years resolution to make a Will or, indeed, to update your existing Will to ensure that it accords with your current circumstances and wishes.


If you have any questions relating to the topics in this article, including updating your Will or making a Will, please contact our Private Client team on 01392 210700 or email