Janet Strong, Associate Solicitor in our Wills and Estates Team
If someone dies without making a Will, they are called “intestate”. There are rules setting out who should inherit in such circumstances.
If the person who has died does not have any surviving issue (children or other descendants), their surviving husband, wife or civil partner receives everything.
If the person who died had a husband, wife or civil partner and children, the husband, wife or civil partner is entitled to personal belongings; a “statutory legacy” (which is currently the first £250,000 from the estate); and half of any estate which is left.
There are further rules setting out who should inherit if the person who died did not have a husband, wife, civil partner, children or grandchildren.
For deaths after 6th February, the statutory legacy will be increasing to from £250,000 to £270,000.
Sometimes, certain family members or dependants can make a claim against an estate if they do not feel that these rules make reasonable financial provision for them. This might be the case, for example, where a couple is not married, or if stepchildren are involved.
To avoid the need to rely on the rules of intestacy, it is best to make a Will so that you can set out who should inherit your estate.
If you would like to discuss Wills, or would like advice regarding the estate of someone who has died (whether they have made a Will or not) , please contact me or one of my colleagues in our Wills and Estates department on 01793 532363 or firstname.lastname@example.org