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What exactly happens if I die without having a will as a landlord?

Dying without a (landlord) will is also referred to as ‘dying in intestate’; this is when the law of intestacy is used. We have outlined the order in which your estate would be delivered to your heirs through intestacy law for landlords.

Who gets what if I don’t have a will?

If you have a spouse and children:

  • Your spouse will inherit all your possessions and the first £322,000 of your estate and half of whatever is left over after that. The final half will be passed on to your children. If you are separated from your spouse, this is the order through which your inheritance will be passed. However, no part of your estate will go to a spouse you have divorced.

If you have a spouse and no children:

  • Your spouse will inherit the entirety of your estate.

If you have children and you have no spouse or civil partner, or they are deceased:

  • Your children will inherit the entirety of your estate. Your estate will be divided equally between the children.

If you have no partner or children:

  • In this case your estate is passed down to surviving relatives as follows; parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles. This has caused issues in the past, with the estate of people who have died in intestate having half of their estate given to a biological parent they have never met. If there are no surviving potential heirs to your estate it will be sold and the value will be given to the government.

Ultimately, not writing a will is not good for anyone, especially for us landlords. Passing away without a will takes away your freedom to control exactly what you’d like to do with your estate, properties, and pro once you’re gone. For instance, if you’d like to leave anything (properties or capital) to a friend, without a will, they would not receive them, so writing one is important!

Will lenders transfer mortgages to new owners when a landlord dies?

If a buy to let has a mortgage when the owner dies, the estate pays off the debt left. However, If the estate does not have enough cash to pay the debt off, the new owners will have to sell or re-mortgage the property to clear the debt left.

One way to avoid this issue as a landlord is to make sure to take out life insurance that covers the mortgage debt and any other insurances that can help benefit with the debts.

What happens with your tenants when you pass?

For the tenants, the death of the landlord does not mean the tenancy ends or that tenants should stop paying their rent either. So, for legal reasons, the tenancy does not die with the landlord but becomes part of their estate.

Nothing changes for the tenant:

  • If the tenancy is over a fixed term, the terms in the tenancy agreement still stand.
  • If the tenancy is a rolling, periodic arrangement, the tenant must give one month’s notice to quit, while the executor should provide two months’ notice.
  • Probate will generally take a few months to sort out, so for tenants and the new owners, they will have plenty of time to make any decisions about their futures.
  • Tenants must carry on paying rent
  • Deposits stay protected if they are already in an approved protection scheme

If the executor has instructions to sell a buy to let property with tenants, the estate can issue a Section 21 no-fault eviction notice.

This is why it is important to have a backup plan, like having us Legacy Guardians, we are here to help to make sure you have everything backed up and organised for when the unfortunate day comes.

My landlord died and I don’t know who the new owner is?

You can download a copy of the title plan and register for your home from the Land Registry website

The documents cost £3 each. The title will list the name and address of the owner. If that’s still the deceased landlord, write to the old address as the letter will probably be forwarded to the executor.

Can Landlords Write Their Wills?

There’s no legal reason why a landlord cannot write a will, here at Legacy Guardians we can assist you with writing your will and also with any other pesty legal documents we landlords need.

Reasons to have a will:

  • You have remarried but have children from a previous marriage
  • You have property outside the UK
  • You run a business
  • Your net worth is more than inheritance tax thresholds
  • To decide who you want to own what

Once written, give the executor a copy of the will and any other information needed too. Or why not join our waitlist and let us take care of all of that for you.

Get in touch

Here at Legacy Guardians, we’re building a team of Specialist Property Administrators focused on organising Landlords’ important documents into a Digital Vault; with the ultimate aim of supporting their loved ones through Probate Administration after they pass away.

But more than that, once everything is uploaded we can help keep you organised for the dreaded HMRC tax investigation and hopefully look to give you some help with planning for retirement and inheritance tax.

Best of all, once live we’re hopefully going to offer free specialist landlord wills and £500,000 in free landlord probate administration.

Please contact us on or any of the details below to find out more about how we can help you to get that all-important financial peace of mind.

Legacy Planning can be complicated… time to stop researching and start doing!

Vikki Baptie

NRLA Accredited Landlord and IPW Professional Will Writer

I’m Vikki, the founder of Legacy Guardians. I hope this article was helpful, but I can probably guess that it’s about time that you stopped researching and got on with getting everything in order.

I know how it can be hard juggling everything with 15 properties, 3 kids, 1 dog, 1 Property Business and another couple of trading businesses things like succession and legacy planning usually go on the backburner. (thank goodness for my business & life partner Shaun!)

Take back your time, and gain that all important financial peace of mind by working through my Landlord Legacy Framework.