Who can inherit if there is no will – the rules of intestacy

When a person dies without leaving a valid will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a will is called an intestate person.

Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy.

If someone makes a will but it is not legally valid, the rules of intestacy decide how the estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the will.

Married or in a civil partnership AND has children: Their spouse will receive everything in the estate, including all personal possessions, up to the first £250,000. Anything above that amount is divided in two, with half going to the spouse and half to the children (at age 18) in equal shares.

Married or in a civil partnership but has NO children: Their spouse will receive all personal possessions and the proceeds of the estate.

Unmarried AND has children or grandchildren: The children will receive the proceeds of the entire estate when they turn 18. If there is more than one child, each will receive an equal share. If the child is deceased, grandchildren or great-grandchildren can inherit their parent’s share.  Adopted and biological children are treated equally.

Unmarried with NO children: The entire estate will go to the following relatives, in this order:  Their parents; If parents are deceased, to their brothers and sisters (with full siblings coming before half-siblings); If they have no siblings or surviving parents, to their grandparents; If grandparents are also deceased, to uncles and aunts or their children.

Unmarried with no living relatives:  The entire estate will go to the Crown.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/money/wills-and-probate/probate/intestacy-rules-ay87y1u73pkk – Which?

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