What Happens Without a Will?
Where a person dies leaving no Will (Or no valid will) at the date of their death, they have died intestate. This means that the law will dictate who will receive the deceased’s estate and this is dependant on whether or not the deceased was married and has children or other relatives such as parents, brothers, sisters, nieces or nephews.
Where a person dies leaving a spouse but no children, the surviving spouse will inherit the whole estate.
However, where the deceased left a spouse and children, the distribution of the estate will be:
- Personal chattels
- A fixed net sum of £250,000 plus interest from the date of death to the date of payment
- 50% of the net residuary estate
- 50% of the net residuary estate equal shares contingent on them attaining the age of 18 years (or earlier in marriage) – if any child of the deceased dies before the deceased, but leaves children of their own, they will take by substitution the share which their parent would have otherwise taken at the age of 18 years (or earlier marriage).
Where the deceased dies leaving no spouse, only children, then the children will take the estate in equal shares at age 18 _or earlier marriage).
If the deceased died leaving no spouse or children then the estate will pass to the following relatives in the order set out:
- Brothers and sisters of the whole blood* or their children
- Brothers and sisters of the half blood** or their children
- Uncles and aunts of the whole blood or their children
- Uncles and aunts of the half blood of their children
- The crown, the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duke of Cornwall as the case may be.
*Whole blood means sharing the same parent
**Half blood means sharing one common parent
Please note that one category above must be exhausted before the next category can inherit, so for example, if the deceased died leaving no surviving parent, that surviving parent will take everything and nothing will pass to surviving brothers or sisters of the whole blood.
For advice or more information on the issues raised in this article, please contact Maxine Heppenstall at [email protected] or 01943 609969.