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Many a time’s sudden death of the spouse or because of the ignorance, an individual does not prepare the will. It is advisable to have a will done at the earlier stage of life in order to avoid complications for the spouse and children.In life, many individuals find hard to live a life without having their close relative especially spouse and children. It is always hard to face these situations in life. We do not tend to think otherwise and ensure that whether the proper will is done or not.In this particular article, we will discuss various alternative options which are available and the consequences to the wife when the husband has died without making a will.

In ancient era, when a person dies, usually the properties of the deceased shall be the property of the state. This rule is also currently valid with some modifications. If the deceased does not have any relative, it shall be transferred to the state.


In case of a death of the husband, the personal representative of the deceased will be the legal heir. However, if the case where there is no will, it becomes difficult since there is no any legal representative who is appointed at the time of death.

Hence, now the spouse claiming to be a legal representative shall approach a lawyer. With the help of a lawyer, the spouse shall apply to the court of law for granting the document which is “The Grant of Representation”. This document indicates that the spouse of the deceased shall be entitled to proceed with the estate of husband.

One must make sure to obtain this document before the liquidation of the asset starts by executors. This document is now used for the administration of the estate.

The above process commonly referred as probate in the legal sense. This process differs from country to country and sometimes it may be different from one state to another. It is recommended to approach a lawyer in this situation.

The right to apply grant of representation lies not only with the spouse. However, a civil partner, child of deceased person or parents can apply for grant of representation as well.

Execution under the intestacy rules:

Usually in case of not having a will, under the grant of representation, the estate shall be divided amongst the blood relatives. Usually, Stepchildren do not have any right in estate of the husband who deceased.

If the couple does not have any children, grandchildren, in this case, the wife of a deceased husband shall have a right to the entire house once the liability attached to it has been paid off.

However, if the couple has the children or grand children, in that case, the estate of the deceased shall divide depending upon the applicable laws of the country.

The relatives of the deceased can be appointed as a personal representative in the following sequence;

  1. Spouse
  2. Civil partner
  3. Children
  4. Any parent
  5. Sister or Brother
  6. Other relatives such as uncle, aunt etc.

Jointly owned house:

Any asset which is jointly owned by the legally married couple, the wife of the deceased husband shall become the sole owner of the asset. However, the liability attached to the jointly held asset also comes with it. Once the liability pays off, the wife becomes a sole owner of estate of the jointly held properties.

Further, one interesting thing to note here is that intestacy rules do not apply to jointly held property.

Spouses married under Common Law:

Some countries permit to have a common law marriage which is an informal marriage whereby a couple lives together as a husband and wife and commonly refer as they are married in the family meetings or community. They do not go through rituals and formal procedure to get a marriage licence.

This situation is complicated since in this case, the wife cannot be a personal legal representative in the eyes of law. There is no such documentation prepared. In this case, the properties of the deceased shall pass to the children and other blood relatives of a deceased and not to the wife of deceased.

Make a will:

If you wish that you want to distribute your estate to your spouse and children without arising any complications to them at a later date, it is highly recommended to have a valid legal will executed. This is the only way to protect them and to avoid legal issues in the family.

Preparing a will is a part of taking care of your family when you are not with them.

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