The rules of intestacy set out who is entitled to a deceased state if there is no valid will.

If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership at the time of their death and the estate is worth less than £270,000 the entire estate will pass to the spouse or civil partner whether the deceased had children or not.

 If the estate is worth more than £270,000 and the deceased had children. The husband, wife or civil partner keeps all the assets (including property), up to £270,000, and all the personal possessions, whatever their value. The children will be entitled to half the remainder of the estate with the spouse or civil partner taking the other half.

What if the deceased was not married or in a civil partnership and was not survived by children or grandchildren who takes the estate?

If the deceased has parents surviving at the time of death, they will take the estate in equal shares. If this is not applicable one must ascertain whether the deceased was survived by brothers and sisters and if so, the estate is to be equally divided between the surviving siblings. If there are no siblings and no half brothers and sisters one must ascertain whether the deceased’s grandparents have survived the deceased as they will take the estate if they are still alive.

If there are no grandparents alive at the time of the deceased’s death the estate is shared equally between the aunts or uncles. If an aunt or uncle has already died, their children (the cousins of the deceased) inherit in their place.

If there are no aunts or uncles or cousins, the estate will be equally divided between half aunts and uncles or if they have died their children. If none of the above are applicable the estate goes to the Crown.

Do adopted children take under the Rules of Intestacy?

Children that have been adopted out of the family do take under the Rules of Intestacy.  If the deceased adopted a child, this child takes as if a child of the deceased.

Do partners of a Deceased take under Rules of Intestacy?

Only partners that are married to the deceased or in a civil partnership with the deceased at the time of the deceased’s death take under the rules of intestacy.

If the rules of intestacy do not make provision for me, can I make a claim to all or part of the estate?

If you were dependant on the deceased, you should take legal advice to ascertain whether your entitled to make an Inheritance Act Claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate. We suggest you contact us immediately as these claims must be brought within six months of the letters of administration or the grant of probate.

One may also consider whether they have other claims such as a Promissory Estoppel claim to stop the estate being distributed as per the rules of intestacy or whether they have an equitable interest in estate property or a monetary claim.

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