Who inherits if I die without a Will?

The Intestacy Rules determine who gets your estate if you die without a Will. October 2014 brought us the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014, which included important changes to the Intestacy Rules (for England and Wales). We take you through the changes and outline who inherits if you die without a Will:

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Surviving spouse or civil partner but no children

If a person dies without a Will, leaving a spouse or civil partner and no children, their whole estate will pass to their spouse or civil partner outright including all of the deceased’s personal belongings. Under the old Rules the family of the deceased would have also shared in the estate if it was worth more than £450,000.

Surviving spouse or civil partner and children

The second change is where a person dies without a Will leaving a spouse or civil partner and children. Now the surviving spouse or civil partner will receive up to £250,000 and one half of the estate over this figure. The other half goes equally between the children of the deceased. As before a co-habiting partner or ‘common-law spouse’ will not, under the Intestacy Rules at least, receive anything. They may though be able to bring a claim against the estate.

No surviving spouse, civil partner or children and unmarried parents

The Rules have also been amended so that if the deceased dies without a Will and is unmarried without children, then the estate will pass to his or her parents named on the deceased birth certificate or equivalent birth record. It does not now matter that the deceased’s parents were unmarried and the father, if named on the birth certificate, will now inherit as well.

Adopted children claiming from natural parents

Changes have also been made to protect children who are adopted from losing their right to claim or receive an inheritance from a natural parent that has died. This change applies whether or not the deceased parent died leaving a Will.

Best to make a Will

Although the Intestacy Rules are intended to produce a fair outcome if someone dies without leaving a Will there are still many occasions when the deceased would have wanted something different.

The best way to protect your loved ones and ensure your estate is distributed as you wish is by making a Will. Burt Brill & Cardens has an experienced, professional team who will work with you to make a Will that meets all of your needs.

If you would like to book a free initial consultation, please contact us at enquire@bbc-law.co.uk or call us on 01273 604123. Read more on Making a Will.