Intestacy

Intestacy is a term used to describe the situation of not making a will. In the case of dying without a legally valid will, all assets and property (estate) are shared out according to the rules of intestacy, whether or not this was the wish of the deceased person. The rules of intestacy dictate that the estate shall pass to the spouse, then certain close family members and then other more distant family members.

The following list describes how the rules of intestacy apply to different scenarios.

Married or civil partners with children

  • Jointly held assets and personal possessions are left to the Survivor
  • First £250,000 to the surviving parent
  • 50% of residue to the Survivor
  • 50% of residue to children  (legally entitled to assets when 18)

Comments

  • The estate can be more complex to administer without a professionally prepared will.
  • If both parents die before your children reach age 18 the Courts will decide who is the guardian of your children.
  • In some situations where large assets (eg the family home) are owned solely by the deceased it is possible that the family home will have to be sold to fulfil the above intestacy requirements.
  • Financial dependants outside of the above categories beneficiaries could miss out under the rules of intestacy. They can apply to the courts for a reasonable provision to be made in their favour. This will add to the complexity.

Married or Civil Partners without children.

  • All to the surviving spouse or Civil Partner

Comments

  • The estate can be more complex to administer without a professionally prepared will.
  • Financial dependants outside of the above categories beneficiaries could  miss out under the rules of intestacy. They can apply to the courts for a reasonable provision to be made in their favour. This will add to the complexity.

Single with children

All the estate will be equally divided between your children

Single without children

The pecking order will be as follows:

  • Parents,
  • Siblings,
  • Nephews and nieces,
  • Siblings of the half blood or descendants,
  • Your grandparents,
  • Uncles and aunts,
  • Cousins or their descendants.

If there are no descendants of your parents or your grandparents your estate will pass to the Crown.

It should be noted that Co Habitees are treated as single and are not entitled to their deceased partner’s estate. This issue was not addressed in the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014

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