Many people die ‘intestate” i.e. they do not have Wills. The effect of being intestate is that, effectively, Parliament makes a Will for you (whether you like it or not!).

From 1st October 2014, the surviving married partner or civil partner will take all of the first £250,000 and then be fully entitled to half of the remainder. All the children will get is half of anything above £250,000 – and they have to wait until they are 18 years old to get their hands on it.

If the deceased does not have a spouse or a civil partner then the money is divided as follows:

The ‘Pecking Order’ – If there are children, they inherit. If there are no children, then parents inherit and so on.

Rules of inheritance:

1. Children or their descendants

2. Parents

3. Brothers or sisters or their descendants

4. Half siblings or their descendants

5. Grandparents

6. Uncles and/or aunts or their descendants

7. Half uncles and/or aunts or their descendants

8. Whole estate passes to the crown

Common Problems with Intestacy

  • If you have less than £250,000 everything goes to your spouse or civil partner – Is this what you want? If not, then you may need to write a Will.
  •  If you live with someone and you are not in a marriage or civil partnership, then they receive nothing under intestacy. They may have to go to Court to get a share of your estate. Is this what you want? You may need to do a Will.
  •  Are there children that you do not want to give much or anything to, or to give more to? Are there vulnerable children or children with special needs? You may need to do a Will.
  •  Are there other friends or relations that you want to provide for? You may need to do a Will.
  •  Do you want to give money to charities? You may need to do a Will.