What if there’s no Will?
Not having a Will isn’t exactly a show-stopper, but it does make things slightly more complicated.
When a person dies without having a valid Will, their estate is essentially divided up according to a set of standard rules which are known as Intestacy Law.
As set out in the Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Act, these rules determine which individuals inherit based on the types of family connection. The rules are fairly rigid insofar as they do not take in to account who may be in need of inheritance more than another, or indeed closeness of relationships.
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The determined rules of intestacy state how an estate of someone who passes away without a valid Will is distributed.
The rules mean that the estate is allocated to family members in a specific and strict order, depending on which relatives are still living. Usually at first the spouse or civil partner will inherit the bulk of the estate, although unmarried partners will not inherit anything.
The spouse or civil partner will receive everything from the estate, which includes all personal possessions, up to the first £250,000.
Anything which falls above that amount is divided in two, with the first half going to the spouse or civil partner, and the second half to the children (when they reach age 18) in equal shares.
The spouse or civil partner will receive all personal possessions and the proceeds of the estate.
In this case, the children will receive the proceeds of the entire estate when they reach the age of 18. If there is more than one child, then each of the children will reach equal shares.
In some cases the child may be deceased, in which case grandchildren or great-grandchildren can inherit their parent’s share.
In this case the entire estate will go to the following relatives in the following order:
- Firstly, their parents
- If in cases the parents are deceased, it will go to siblings
- If there are no living siblings or parents, it will go to grandparents
- If there are also no living grandparents, it will go to uncles and aunts, or their children.
The entire estate will go to the Crown.
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