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Intestacy – who inherits when there is no Will?

Jul 3, 2015

If you die without leaving a will then you estate is divided by the law of intestacy. The intestacy law is rigid and inflexible and does not allow for anyone who is not blood relation or related by marriage, inherit from your estate.

The intestacy law is the very reason why you should make a Will as your Will can protect your family from having to go through this process.

First and foremost, if you are married and your spouse dies intestate, then you will receive a proportion of the estate. Where this is valued at more than £250,000 and you have children, you would inherit the first £250,000 and 50% of the reminder with the other 50% being divided between your children or if one of your children has already died but has children, then they will inherit instead.

Where the value of the estate is less than £250,000, your spouse would inherit it all.

Problems start when you didn’t marry or enter into a civil partnership during your lifetimes. Even if you had been together for 50 years, paid into the home you owned together and had a life together, you would not be eligible to any inheritance under the laws of intestacy. If you had children, they would stand to inherit something, but you would not.

In the event that you die with no surviving spouse or children, the laws of intestacy will try to identify anyone with a blood relationship with you. This could be brothers and sisters, your parents or grandparents, if they are still alive, or even aunts or uncles.

When no one is identified that could inherit your estate under the strict laws on intestacy, then your estate will be given to the Crown.

Some sources suggested that the number of people dying intestate is rising. In fact there has been an increase of 91%, providing a figure of nearly £39 million to the Crown. These figures are borne out, as more than 60% of the population of the UK do not have a valid Will.

You can see that having a Will protects your family, whatever its set up, and allows you to have control of who inherits from your estate.

To find out more about intestacy or to talk to our experienced Wills and Probate team, please call Hilary Hargreaves on 01264 325821 and she will be happy to help. Alternatively, please email hhargreaves@bsandi.co.uk and she will be in touch soon.

 


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