Dying Without A Will

Published / Last Updated on 14/06/2015

IntestacyIntestacy

Apart from the normal confusion, heartache, dispute and delays in resolving your affairs there is something else that also happens:

The Laws of Intestacy come into force, as laid down under various legislation applying in England & Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland

The law regarding Intestacy differs depending on where you live.

Please select from the following to establish how your property and assets would be distributed if you have made no Will:

  • I live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • I live in Scotland

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Making Your Last Will and Testament in the UK10 Minute Will By Phone

The rules on dying intestate i.e. intestacy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland depend upon whether you are married / civil partnership or not?  

Married:

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, die intestate and you are married, your assets are distributed as follows:

Estate value is less than £200,000

  • The surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit 100% of the estate

Estate value is greater than £200,000

If there are children: 

  • The first £125,000 to the surviving spouse or civil partner
  • 50% of balance in a life interest for the surviving spouse or civil partner
  • 50% of balance is held in trust for the children, in equal shares, until they reach the age of 18

No children but there are brothers and sisters of the deceased:

  • The first £200,000 to the surviving spouse or civil partner
  • 50% of balance in a life interest for the surviving spouse or civil partner
  • 50% of balance for any brothers and sisters, in equal shares

No children and no brothers and sisters of the deceased:

  • The surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit 100% of the estate

Not Married:

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, die intestate and you are not or no longer married or in a civil partnership or are widowed, your assets are distributed as follows:

If there are children:

  • The estate is shared equally between the children
  • If any child is under the age of 18, their share will be held in trust until they reach adulthood

No children but there are relatives of the deceased:

The estate is shared depending upon the relationship and in order of priority

  • Priority 1: Surviving parents, the whole estate is shared equally between them
  • Priority 2: No parents alive but there are brothers and sisters, the whole estate is shared equally between brothers and sisters
  • Priority 3: No parents or brothers and sisters alive but there are grandparents, the whole estate is shared equally between grandparents
  • Priority 4: No parents, brothers and sisters or grandparents alive but there are aunts and uncles, the whole estate is shared equally between aunts and uncles
  • Priority 5: No parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents or aunts and uncles alive but there other surviving relatives, the whole estate is shared equally between surviving relatives

No relatives:

If there are no surviving relatives, the estate will pass to either the Crown, the Duchy of Cornwall or the Duchy of Lancaster.

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Making Your Last Will and Testament in the ScotlandDying Without a Will

The rules on dying intestate i.e. intestacy in Scotland depend upon whether you are you married or not?

Married:

If you live in Scotland, die intestate and you are married or in a civil partnership, your assets are distributed as follows:

The estate is distributed according to a priority order for claims on the estate

1. Prior Rights: (this is the first i.e. priority claim on estate)

The House and its contents

  • House Valued Below £300,000 - spouse or civil partner receives house plus value of home contents up to £24,000
  • House Valued Above £300,000 - spouse or civil partner receives value up to £300,000 plus value of home contents up to £24,000

Other Estate

  • If there are no children, spouse or civil partner has a prior right to the first £75,000
  • If there are children, spouse or civil partner has a prior right to the first £42,000

2. Legal Rights: (this is the second in priority claim on estate)

If there are no children, the spouse or civil partner is entitled to half of the remaining estate, the other half goes to the third priority i.e. Free Estate Rules

If there are children, the spouse or civil partner is entitled to one third of the remaining estate, one third goes to the children (or their descendants) and the final third goes to the third priority i.e. Free Estate Rules

3.  Free Estate Rules: (this is the third priority of claim)

Free estate is distributed in priority order depending upon what relatives are alive (if any)

  • Children take the whole remaining estate
  • Either or both parents and brothers and sisters - half to parent or parents and half to brothers and sisters
  • Brothers and sisters take the whole remaining estate
  • Either or both parents take the whole remaining estate
  • Husband or wife or civil partner - the surviving spouse or civil partner takes the whole remaining estate
  • Uncles or aunts (on either side) take the whole remaining estate
  • Grandparent or grandparents (on either side) take the whole remaining estate
  • Brothers and sisters of any grandparents (on either side) take the whole remaining estate
  • Other distant surviving relatives take the whole remaining estate
  • Finally, the Crown takes the whole remaining estate

Not Married:

If you live in Scotland, die intestate and you are not married or in a civil partnership, your assets are distributed as follows:

The estate is distributed according to a priority order for claims on the estate

1. Legal Rights: (this is the first i.e. priority claim on estate)

If there are children, they can give up their legal rights and the estate passes to Free Estate Rules where they have the first order of priority to claim the whole estate

If there are no children, spouse or civil partner the whole estate passes to Free Estate Rules 

2. Free Estate Rules: (this is the second priority of claim)

Free estate is distributed in priority order depending upon what relatives are alive (if any)

  • Children take the whole remaining estate
  • Either or both parents and brothers and sisters - half to parent or parents and half to brothers and sisters
  • Brothers and sisters take the whole remaining estate
  • Either or both parents take the whole remaining estate
  • Husband or wife or civil partner - the surviving spouse or civil partner takes the whole remaining estate
  • Uncles or aunts (on either side) take the whole remaining estate
  • Grandparent or grandparents (on either side) take the whole remaining estate
  • Brothers and sisters of any grandparents (on either side) take the whole remaining estate
  • Other distant surviving relatives take the whole remaining estate
  • Finally, the Crown takes the whole remaining estate

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