Solicitors Based In Chester Offering Legal Services throughout England and Wales
Solicitors Based In Chester Offering Legal Services throughout England and Wales

Intestacy Rules in the UK: What You Need to Know

Many individuals postpone important tasks, such as making a will, assuming that there is
always time to address it later. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and unforeseen
circumstances can arise.

If someone dies without a valid will, there are specific intestacy rules that dictate how a
deceased person’s estate is distributed. This may not be what the deceased wanted.

Understanding Intestacy:

Intestacy occurs when a person dies without a valid will, leaving their estate to be distributed
according to the laws of intestacy. They vary depending on the deceased’s family situation and
the value of their estate.

The Spouse or Civil Partner:

  • If the deceased is survived by a spouse/civil partner but has no children, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse/civil partner.
  • If there are children, the spouse/civil partner receives a statutory legacy (currently £322,000) and personal belongings, with the remaining estate split between the spouse/civil partner and the children.

Children and Descendants:

  • If there is no surviving spouse/civil partner, the estate is equally divided among the children or their descendants.

In the absence of direct descendants, the estate may pass to more distant relatives, such as
parents or siblings.

If there are no surviving relatives, the estate may ultimately go to the Crown, a situation t
can be easily avoided with careful estate planning.

The intestacy rules may not adequately reflect modern family structures, such as unmarried
partners or stepchildren, highlighting the importance of creating a will to ensure that one’s
wishes are honoured. The absence of a will can result in delays and additional stress for the
grieving family.

By taking a proactive approach to creating a will, individuals can ensure that their assets are
distributed according to their wishes, avoiding potential challenges for their loved ones.

If you would like some further information and advice on estate planning and wills please
contact us on 01244 757352 or email our Private Client Solicitor, Laura Kirton at

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