We advise everyone to make a Will to ensure their estate is distributed in accordance with their wishes. However, many people do not make a Will and their estate is distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules:
Surviving Spouse and no Surviving Issue
The spouse will be entitled to the whole estate.
Surviving Spouse and Surviving Issue
When there is a surviving spouse and surviving children the spouse is entitled to:
- the personal chattels;
- £250,000 net free of Inheritance Tax and costs; and
- One half of the residuary estate
The remaining half of the residuary estate passes to the surviving issue.
No Surviving Spouse but Surviving Issue
All children will each receive a share of the estate. This is held on the statutory trusts until such time as each child reaches the age of 18 and attains a vested interest. If a child does not attain a vested interest and has no children of their own then that share is divided equally between the remaining children in equal shares.
No surviving Spouse and No Surviving Issue
In the event that you do not have a surviving spouse or children then there is an order of entitlement. If there is no-one in a category then the next category must be considered:
- Parents in equal shares
- Brothers and sisters of the whole blood or their issue if they have not survived;
- Brothers and sisters of the half blood or their issue if they have not survived;
- Grandparents in equal shares;
- Uncles and aunts of the whole blood or their issue if they have not survived;
- Uncles and aunts of the half blood or their issue if they have not survived.
If there is one surviving relative in a category they will receive the whole estate excluding anyone in a lower category.
If there is no surviving relatives in the above categories then the estate passes to the Crown, Duchy of Lancaster or Duke of Cornwall.