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What happens when someone dies without making a will

View profile for Leah Woodnott
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Avicii, the Swedish international DJ, died in April 2018 after taking his own life.

Legal documents have now been made public by the Swedish Tax Agency, which state his parents, Klas Bergling and Anki Liden, are set to inherit his estate worth an estimated £20 million, as he died without making a will.

Avicii did not have a partner or children at the time of his passing and his estate passes under Swedish Law. Swedish Law states that if a person dies without a partner or children, their estate will automatically pass to their parents.

It has been said that Avicii had debts of over £8.42 million in the US and £73,430 in Canada. These will have to be settled from his estate before Avicii’s parents will receive their inheritance.

In England and Wales, if a person dies without making a valid will, then the rules of intestacy will apply. The rules of intestacy are governed by law. They are a set of rules which state who will inherit an estate. The list is as follows:-

  • Husband/wife
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Brothers/sisters
  • Nephew/niece
  • Grandparents
  • Aunt/uncle
  • The Crown.

Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that loved ones find out on a deceased’s passing that they have died without making a will. This means that unmarried couples, step-children, close friends of the deceased or carers etc would not be provided for under the rules of intestacy.

By making a will, you are ensuring that your estate is distributed in accordance with your own wishes and making sure that your loved ones are provided for.

If you would like to make or amend your will or would like advice on how the rules of intestacy would apply should you pass away, then please do not hesitate to contact the Wills, Trust and Probate team. I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217609 or email me at