INTESTACY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

When a person dies without having left a valid will, he or she is said to have
died “intestate”. The law sets out the rules, which apply in that situation.

This is a simple guide only. There may be exceptions to the general rule,
which are not set out. Please contact us for further advice before acting on
any understanding of the law as set out in this Fact Sheet.

Married person with children

  • Spouse gets everything up to *£125,000 & personal possessions.
  • Anything remaining is divided into two:-
    • Half to the children at 18 or earlier marriage.
    • Half in trust during spouse’s lifetime – he or she gets
      the income. On spouse’s death this half goes to the
      children.

If a child predeceases, leaving issue(children), his issue will take his share
between them.

Married person, no children

  • If there are parents, brothers or sisters of the whole blood, nephew or nieces:-
  • Spouse gets everything up to *£200,000 & personal possessions.
  • Anything remaining is divided into two:-
    • Half of this goes to spouse
    • Half to parents. If no parent is living then it goes to brothers or sisters or their children.

Married person, no parents, brothers or sisters of the whole blood, nephew or nieces

  • Spouse takes whole estate.

Unmarried person with children

  • Estate goes to children at 18 or earlier marriage.
  • If a child predeceases, leaving children the children take in equal shares.

Unmarried person with no children

  • Estate goes to parents.
  • If none, then to siblings of the whole blood or their issue.
  • If none, then to siblings of the half blood or their issue.
  • If none, then to grandparents.
  • If none, then to uncles and aunts of the whole blood or their issue.
  • If none, then to uncles and aunts of the half blood or their issue.
  • If there are no parents, siblings (whole or half blood), issue of siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts
    (whole or half blood), or issue of uncles or aunts, estate
    goes to the Crown (or to the Duchy of Lancaster or the
    Duke of Cornwall).

*Note that these figures have changed over the years. If considering
rules in relation to a death which has already occurred, the figure in
force at the date of that death must be used. The figures shown apply
for deaths on or

You can download our useful information documents below.

The information contained in these documents does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for a personal consultation. Call us for an appointment today!

DOWNLOADIntestacy