If a person dies without making a Will, their estate will pass and be administered according to the Intestacy Rules. These rules set out who will get what and who will administer the estate.
The next of kin will usually be the administrators (personal representatives) and must apply to the probate registry for the power to deal with the estate and obtain ‘letters of administration’.
The beneficiaries under an intestacy will depend on the total net value of the estate.
The Intestacy Rules:
- If you have a spouse, but no children or other relatives, your spouse will get everything.
- If you have a spouse, and children, your spouse will receive £250,000 outright, plus a life interest in half of what’s over. Your children will receive outright the remaining half of what is over above the £250,000, and the other half following your death.
- If you are not married, but have children, your partner will get nothing, and everything will be divided between the children.
- If you are unmarried and have no children or other relatives, everything goes to the Crown.
Other rules apply in respect of other relatives who may take where there is no spouse or children.
Married person with childrenSpouse gets everything up to £250,000 together with all personal possessions. Anything remaining is divided into two:-
- Half to the children at 18 or earlier marriage.
- Half in trust during the surviving spouse's lifetime. On spouse's death this half goes to the children.
- If a child predeceases, leaving issue, his issue will take his share between them.
Married person, no childrenIf there are parents, brothers or sisters of the whole blood, nephew or nieces:- Spouse gets everything up to £200,000 and all personal possessions. Anything remaining is divided into two:-
- Half of this goes to spouse
- Half to parents. If no parent is living then it goes to brothers or sisters or their children.
Unmarried person with childrenEstate goes to children at 18 or earlier marriage. If a child predeceases, leaving issue, his issue take per stirpes.
Unmarried person with no children
- Estate goes to parents.
- If none, then to siblings of the whole blood or their issue.
- If none, then to siblings of the half blood or their issue.
- If none, then to grandparents.
- If none, then to uncles and aunts of the whole blood or their issue.
- If none, then to uncles and aunts of the half blood or their issue.