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Intestacy Rules

Tree _87041384Who inherits if you do nOt have a will?

If you do not have a Will there are rules for deciding who inherits your assets, depending on your personal circumstances.

If you Are married or in a civil partnership and there are no children


The husband, wife or civil partner will not automatically inherit although they will receive:

  • personal items, such as household articles and cars, but nothing used for business purposes
  • £450,000 (£200,000) free of tax - or the whole estate if it was less than £450,000 (£200,000)
  • half of the rest of the estate

The other half of the rest of the estate will be shared by the following:

  • surviving parents
  • if there are no surviving parents, any brothers and sisters (who shared the same two parents as the deceased) will get a share (or their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
  • if the deceased has none of the above, the husband, wife or registered civil partner will get everything

If you Are married or in a civil partnership and there were children

Your husband, wife or civil partner will not automatically inherit everything, although they will receive:

  • personal items, such as household articles and cars, but nothing used for business purposes
  • £250,000 (£125,000) free of tax - or the whole of the estate if it was less than £250,000 (£125,000)
  • a life interest in half of the rest of the estate (on his or her death this will pass to the children)
  • the rest of the estate will be shared by the children

If you are partners but are nOt married or in a civil partnership

If you are not married or registered civil partners, you will not automatically get a share of your partner's estate if they die without making a Will.

If there is no surviving spouse/civil partner

The estate is distributed as follows:

  • to surviving children in equal shares (or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
  • if there are no children, to parents (equally, if both alive)
  • if there are no surviving parents, to brothers and sisters, or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive
  • if there are no brothers or sisters then to half brothers or sisters (or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
  • if none of the above then to grandparents (equally if more than one)
  • if there are no grandparents to aunts and uncles (or their children)
  • if none of the above, then to half uncles or aunts (or their children)
  • to the Crown if there are none of the above
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