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The Law of Intestacy

Rules of Intestacy

If you do not leave a valid Will your estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules.

 

Summary of the rules

If you die without a Will and have a surviving spouse or civil partner:

  • if you have no surviving children or other relatives, everything goes to your spouse or civil partner

 

  • if you have surviving children, your spouse or civil partner gets the chattels (personal belongings, household goods, jewellery, antiques and paintings).  They will also receive the equity in the estate - up to a value of £250,000 and a life interest in half the remainder of the estate.  This means that the capital is held for your children, who will receive it when your spouse or civil partner dies.  Your spouse or civil partner will receive the interest for as long as he or she lives.  The other half of your estate will be given to your children immediately, or held for them in a statutory trust until they reach the age of 18

 

  • if you have no children or grandchildren but your parents survive you, your surviving spouse or civil partner gets the chattels, the first £450,000 of any savings or property and half the remainder. Your parents get the other half.  If you have no surviving parents, any surviving brothers or sisters will receive their share unless they are under 18, in which case it will be held in a statutory trust until they reach that age
     
Statutory Trust
Under a statutory trust, part of the estate (once the spouse or civil partner has taken his or her fixed share) is held for children or other beneficiaries until the death of the spouse or civil partner.  The spouse or civil partner receives the income from the trust for life (England and Wales only).
 
No surviving spouse or civil partner
Your children will share everything.  If any of your children have not survived, their own children (ie your grandchildren) will inherit the same.
 
No surviving children or other direct descendants (including great grandchildren)
Your estate will be inherited by your other relatives in the following order:
  • your parents
  • your brothers and sisters of the whole blood, or their children if your siblings have not survived you
  • your brothers and sisters of the half blood, or their children if there is no surviving parent
  • your grandparents 
  • your uncles and aunts of the whole blood or their children
  • your uncles and aunts of the half blood or their children
  • the Crown

 

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