If a family member dies without leaving a Will, they are said to have died intestate. Certain rules apply to intestate estates providing for the division of the estate between the surviving spouse or civil partner and any children. If however the deceased was separated from their spouse or civil partner and living with another person the partner may in those circumstances apply to the Court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for some provision to be made for them in respect of the deceased’s estate notwithstanding the rules on intestacy.
Similarly even where the deceased has left a Will the Will may not provide for any dependants or even any dependant partner who may then also need to apply to the Court for some provision. There may be arguments about the Will itself and whether or not the deceased knew what he or she was doing and understood the effect of the Will and the gifts made under it.
If there are any concerns about an estate or a Will or the validity of a Will then specialist advice from a Solicitor should be obtained.