WillPack

Intestacy

Intestacy

Intestacy will occur when a person has not left a valid will, or if their will does not dispose of all of their estate (for example if all of the residuary beneficiaries had predeceased).

Any assets that would not pass into the estate will not pass via intestacy. See our previous newsletter for more information on this.

The exact distribution under the intestacy rules is set out in S46 Administration of Estates Act 1925. The distribution will vary depending on the value of the estate and what members of family survive. Beneficiaries will inherit the estate after any debts, funeral expenses, taxes and other liabilities have been paid.

Spouse is alive – Intestate leaves no issue

If the intestate’s spouse survives by 28 days, and there are no surviving issue of the intestate, the surviving spouse will receive the entire estate.

Spouse is alive – Intestate leaves issue

If the intestate’s spouse survives by 28 days, and there are surviving issue of the intestate, the distribution would be as follows:

  • The spouse inherits all personal chattels.
  • The spouse receives a statutory legacy of £250,000 plus gross interest
  • The spouse receives half of the remainder
  • Children receive the other half equally between them. If any child has predeceased, that child’s issue receives their share per stirpes.

If the estate is worth less than £250,000, the spouse receives everything.

The spouse can ask the personal representatives (PRs) to appropriate the matrimonial home to them in satisfaction of their entitlement.

No spouse survives

Where no spouse survives, or doesn’t survive by 28 days, the estate is distributed to the following family members, passing to the next class of beneficiaries if there are no surviving beneficiaries in the previous class:

  • To the intestate’s children equally. If any child has predeceased, that child’s issue receives their share per stirpes.
  • To the intestate’s parents equally.
  • To the intestate’s whole blood siblings equally. If any sibling has predeceased, that sibling’s issue receives their share per stirpes.
  • To the intestate’s half-blood siblings equally. If any sibling has predeceased, that sibling’s issue receives their share per stirpes.
  • To the intestate’s grandparents equally.
  • To the intestate’s whole blood uncles and aunts equally. If any uncle or aunt has predeceased, that person’s issue receives their share per stirpes.
  • To the intestate’s half-blood uncles and aunts equally. If any uncle or aunt has predeceased, that person’s issue receives their share per stirpes.

No close relatives

Where there are no surviving relatives of the intestate alive, their estate will pas bona vacantia to the Crown.

Cohabitants have no rights under the Intestacy Provisions. Should they believe that they have not been provided reasonable provision from the estate, they would need to apply to the courts under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

*all references to a spouse include a civil partner

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