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No Will: Intestacy Rules OK or KO?

View profile for Paul Hajek
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You will be known as having died Intestate, if you die in England and Wales without leaving a valid Will.

The ability to decide where your assets will go after your death will be lost.

In all but exceptional circumstances (in limited and expensive legal proceedings), your assets will be distributed in strict accordance with what are known as the Intestacy Rules.

What follows is a simple guide only. We have generalised some definitions to make it easier to understand. You will need to contact your Probate Solicitor if you have any questions.

The thresholds were increased earlier this year. The figures shown apply for deaths occurring on or after 1st February 2009.

There are certain categories of beneficiary who may take the whole of the estate, even where there are remoter relatives.

 The categories are:

1. A Married person with children

2. A Married person with no children

3. A Married person with no parents, brothers or sisters of the
whole blood, nephew or nieces

4. Unmarried person with children

5. Unmarried person with no children

1. A Married person with children.


Spouse gets everything up to £250,000 & the deceased’s personal possessions.
The remainder of the estate is divided into two:-
(a) Half to the children at 18 or earlier if a child marries.

(b) Half in trust during spouse's lifetime - he or she gets the income.

(c) On the surviving spouse's death this half then goes to the
children. If a child dies before his or her parent, and that child
has in turn left surviving children, those children will take that
share between them.

2. A Married person with no children

If there are parents, brothers or sisters of the whole blood, nephew or nieces:-
(a) The Surviving Spouse gets everything up to £450,000 and the
personal possessions.
(b) Anything remaining is divided in half with one half going to the surviving spouse and the other half to the deceased’s parents
If no parent is living then it goes to the deceased’s brothers or sisters or their children


3 A Married person with no parents, no brothers or sisters of the whole blood, and no nephew or nieces

The Surviving Spouse takes the whole estate.

4 Unmarried person with children

The Deceased’s Estate goes to their children at 18 or earlier marriage.
If a child predeceases, leaving children, for example 2 children, they will take a half of that share. In lawyer speak “per stirpes”

5. Unmarried person with no children 

The Deceased’s Estate goes to his or her parents.

(a) If none, then to brothers and sisters of the whole blood or their children.

(b) If none, then to siblings of the half blood or their issue.

(c) If none, then to grandparents.

(d) If none, then to uncles and aunts of the whole blood or their issue.

(e) If none, then to uncles and aunts of the half blood or their issue.

(f) The Estate will go to the Crown (effectively the Government) 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.

Conclusion:

Don’t leave anything to chance contact Jane MacDonald, Probate Solicitor, Clutton Cox on 0844 372 3011 or by email

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