Intestacy is the situation where a person dies without leaving a Will or where a Will has been executed, it has been deemed invalid. Subsequent to this, the deceased is described as an intestate person and their estate must be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.
What are the Rules of Intestacy?
These are in the statutory rules in England in Wales which specify how your estate is to be enforced and distributed should a person die intestate.
If a person were to die intestate, their estate would be divided according to the Rules of Inheritance. The estate would be divided as follows:
- Children or their descendants;
- Brothers or Sisters or their descendants;
- Half siblings or their descendants;
- Uncles and/or Aunts of their descendants;
- Half Uncles and/or Aunts or their descendants; or
- Whole estate passes to the Crown.
However, the Rules become slightly more complicated due to the multitude of different social relationships we see in today's society.
Below you will find a step-by-step guide as to how an intestate estate would be distributed within these different scenarios.
Married Couples and Civil Directors with no Children
The entire estate will pass to the surviving spouse/civil partner.
Married Couples and Civil Directors with Children
The first £250,000 of the estate plus half of the remaining estate will pass to the surviving spouse/civil partner.
Half of the remaining estate will then pass to the children.
Unmarried Couple, no Children
Surviving partner receives nothing. There is no such thing as "common law" protection, no matter how long the partners have lived together.
Married Couple, with Children
Surviving partner receives nothing.
The parents are treated as being single people therefore, the estate passes entirely to blood relatives, with the children first in line.