The Willwriting Partnership

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What happens if I don't have a will?

If you die without making a valid Will, you are said to have died ‘Intestate’

Therefore, given that you have given no instructions as to the way in which you wish your estate to be distributed, the law takes over and governs the distribution of your estate according to the Rules of Intestacy

What are the Rules of Intestacy?

Where the intestate left a surviving spouse then the spouse takes everything unless there are also certain surviving relatives as follows: -

  • If the deceased left issue (whether children, grandchildren or great grandchildren), the spouse/ civil partner and such issue over 18 or married share the estate on the following basis: - to the spouse - the personal chattels absolutely, a statutory legacy of £250,000 (pre February 2009 - £125,000), a life interest in half of the remainder, with the other half going to the issue on attaining the age of 18 or marrying if earlier, or if any issue predecease the deceased leaving issue then the issue will inherit per stirpes. The issue also are the ultimate beneficiaries on the spouse’s death, of the spouse’s life interest.
  • If the deceased left no issue but had parents and/or brothers and sisters then the estate would be divided on the following basis: - to the spouse/civil partner - the personal chattels absolutely, a statutory legacy of £450,000 (pre February 2009 £200,000) and one half of the residue absolutely, the remainder of the estate goes to the parent or parents in equal shares absolutely and if none to the brothers and sisters of the whole blood or their issue. If the deceased left no issue, no surviving parents, brothers or sisters, or issue of brothers and sisters, the whole estate will be recieved by the surviving spouse or civil partner.

     

Where the intestate left no surviving spouse or civil partner the estate will be distributed as follows: -

  • To the issue (children) of the deceased in equal shares absolutely on attaining the age of 18 (or marrying under that age). Where a child predeceases the deceased leaving issue, then the issue would share the deceased parent’s share per stirpes. If there are no children of the intestate then to
  • The parents absolutely (and equally if both are alive). But if none then to
  • The brothers and sisters of the whole blood (same parents as the deceased), but if none then to
  • The brothers and sisters of the half blood (one parent the same as the deceased), but if none then to
  • The grandparents absolutely and equally if more than one, but if none then to
  • Uncles and aunts of the whole blood (brothers and sisters of the whole blood of one of the parents of the deceased), but if none then to
  • Uncles and aunts of the half blood (brothers and sisters who share one parent with one of the parents of the deceased), but if none then to The Crown, Duchy of Lancaster or Duke of Cornwall

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