I Die Without Making a Will?
When someone dies without having left a valid Will, a legal situation called “intestacy” is created, which means that the law decides who gets what from the deceased’s Estate. (An Estate is literally everything which the deceased owned.)
The person charged with carrying out the dispersal of an intestate Estate is called a “Personal Representative” and is usually one of the deceased’s closest surviving relatives, chosen in this order:
1. Husband, Wife or Registered Civil Partner (but NOT their unmarried partner) of the deceased.
2. Child or Grandchild of the deceased (only if over 18 years of age).
3. Parents of the deceased.
4. Siblings of the deceased or their descendents.
5. Half-blood siblings of the deceased or their descendents.
6. Grandparents of the deceased.
7. Aunts and Uncles of the deceased.
The distribution is then effected as follows:
|Deceased leaves surviving:||Estate goes to:|
|Husband/Wife and Children||The surviving spouse receives a fixed net sum of £250,000 plus all the deceased’s personal chattels. Any balance of the Estate value is split 50% to the children in equal shares and 50% to the surviving spouse|
|A Husband/Wife but no children AND either parents or brothers/sisters of the full blood||1. If the net Estate is not more than £450,000 – all to surviving husband/wife if he/she survives the deceased by 28 days.2. If the net Estate is more than £450,000 and husband/wife survives the deceased by 28 days, then £450,000 plus personal possessions to him/her plus half the rest. The other half goes to surviving parents then to brothers and sisters of full blood in equal shares.|
|Husband/Wife but no children, parents or siblings||All to husband/wife if he/she survives the deceased by 28 days.|
|Children but no husband/wife||All to children in equal shares on attaining 18 years of age.|
|No husband/wife or children||All to parents in equal shares|
|No husband, wife, children or parents||All to siblings of full blood in equal shares.If any siblings have died, their children will inherit, i.e. the deceased’s nephews/nieces.|
|No husband, wife, children, parents, siblings (or nephews and nieces)||All to grandparents in equal shares.|
|No husband, wife, children, parents, siblings or grandparents.||All to Uncles/Aunts of the deceased. If any have died, that share would then go to their children i.e. cousins of the deceased.|
|No husband, wife or any other full blood relatives||All of the Estate goes to the Crown.|
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO PROVISIONS UNDER THE INTESTACY LAWS FOR UNMARRIED PARTNERS, STEP-RELATIONS OR HALF-BLOOD RELATIONS.
IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE CAN BE HELD PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR INCORRECT DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS.
It is advisable therefore to seek professional advice prior to attempting to disperse assets in a deceased’s Estate and dependent on the complexity of the Estate, it may be advisable to employ a specialist in intestacy to administer the Estate.
Latest Intestacy Rules – at a Glance
Early 2015 saw a few small, but significant changes to the Laws of Intestacy (where someone dies without having left a Will).
The easy to understand (at a glance) version below is published by the Society of Will Writers Trust Corporation.