Property and the rules of intestacy

intestacy

Intestacy and property in England and Wales

If you are resident in England or Wales is important to hold a valid Will and write any life insurance you hold into trust where appropriate.

If you die without a valid Will this is known as being ‘intestate’ and the value of your estate is distributed under intestacy rules. This means that your intended beneficiaries will not necessarily receive the value from your estate that you would have intended for them.

In some cases the value of your estate will go to the Government.

Intestacy and property

Jointly owned property will automatically pass to the surviving partner and includes their home or monies in a bank or building society.

Jointly owned property does not form part of the Deceased’s Estate and it is excluded when being valued for the Intestacy Rules.

This is a key point if you are purchasing property with a person who is not your spouse or civil partner.

Property held as ‘tenants in common’ does not automatically pass to the surviving spouse, and is dealt with in accordance with the terms of a Will or Intestacy Rules.

The rules on intestacy as they relate to property may not suit your intentions and objectives in the event of your death. It is therefore important to make a valid Will and to understand the rules as they will apply to your estate if you die ‘intestate’.

Current intestacy rules

Two key factors are:

  • Your marital status
  • The value of your total estate (above or below £250,001)

Married – no Will

If you are married, or in a civil partnership, and die without leaving a valid Will your spouse or partner will inherit some, but not necessarily all), of your estate.

Married – estate up to £250,000

If you are married or in a civil partnership and your estate is worth up to £250,000 your spouse or civil partner will get everything .

Estate over £250,000

If your estate is worth over £250,000 your spouse or civil partner will not receive your entire estate unless you have no surviving children, no surviving parents, and no surviving brothers and sisters.

If you have no surviving children but you do have grandchildren they will inherit in their parent’s stead.

Estate over £250,000 and children

If you have children your spouse or civil partner is entitled to your personal chattels, £250,000 outright, and a life interest in half the remainder. The rest goes to your children.

No children surviving parents

If you do not have surviving children, but do have surviving parents your spouse or civil partner is entitled to your personal chattels, £450,000 outright, and a life interest in half the remainder. The rest is shared between your surviving parents.

No surviving children or parents but surviving siblings

If you do not have surviving children, or surviving parents, but have surviving brothers or sisters, your spouse or civil partner is entitled to your personal chattels, £450,000 outright, and a life interest in half the remainder. The rest is shared between your surviving brothers or sisters.

Not married or in a civil partnership?

If you are not married or in a civil partnership and you die intestate your estate is shared equally between any surviving children.

No children?

Your estate is shared equally between any surviving parents.

No parents?

Your estate is shared equally between any surviving brothers or sisters.

No brothers or sisters?

Your estate is shared equally between any surviving nieces or nephews.

No nieces or nephews?

Your estate is shared equally between any surviving grandparents.

No grandparents?

Your estate is shared equally between any surviving uncles and aunts.

No uncles and aunts?

Your estate is shared equally between any surviving cousins.

No cousins?

Your estate is goes to the Crown (Government) or to the Duchy of Cornwall or Lancaster if you live in those areas.

Succession in Scotland

In Scotland intestacy is covered under the rules of succession

share this content

Top