When a person dies before leaving a will, their Intestacy rules are distributed according to conventional Intestacy rules.
The Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Act lays forth the criteria for determining who receives what is predicated on familial ties. The regulations don’t consider how close your ties are or who is most in need.
In Scotland, other restrictions apply; therefore, visit our section on Intestacy rules in Scotland to learn more.
If a close relative or acquaintance passes away without leaving a will, you might apply to be the executor of their estate. According to Intestacy rules laws, this entails valuing the estate, paying any debts, and distributing inheritances. To learn more, go to our section on running an estate.
Intestacy rules govern the distribution of an estate when a person dies without leaving a will.
Depending on whose relatives you leave behind, the regulations will distribute your estate in a specific order to your family members.
Your spouse or civil partner will often inherit most of your estate (but unmarried partners will receive nothing).
The following examples demonstrate how intestacy rules work in England and Wales.
In Scotland, the restrictions regarding Intestacy rules differ from those in England and Wales.
Prior rights are granted to a surviving spouse or civil partner.
This includes a share in the family home worth up to £473,000 if it’s in Scotland and the partner lived there at the time of death.
It also covers furniture worth up to £29,000 and other moveable assets worth up to £50,000 (if you have children) or £89,000 (if you don’t have children) (no children).
Whatever remains of the estate will be distributed according to your ‘legal rights,’ which are shared among your spouse, children, or immediate family members.
If you do not have a spouse, your fortune is divided among your children.
When someone dies without a will, their estate will be administered by an administrator, usually a close relative or a close relative’s next of kin.
To become the administrator, you’ll need to apply for a ‘grant of representation’ from the Probate Registry.
The procedure is identical to will executors; we outline the processes in our guide to probate grant.
First and foremost, you must appraise the property. After that, you’ll need to fill out a probate application and the appropriate inheritance tax form.
Following that, you must submit your application and take an oath. In addition, you’ll have to pay the probate charge.
Keep in mind that you must follow the Intestacy rules requirements and split the inheritance according to the law as the executor.
The ‘executor-dative’ in Scotland is a relative who takes on this responsibility.
If there are no living relatives, the estate will be handled by HM Treasury.
Just because someone has drafted a will doesn’t mean it will still be valid when they pass away.
Certain events, like marriage, will override a pre-existing will; thus, it’s crucial to examine choices regularly.
If a will is invalid, the estate is regarded as intestate and distributed according to Intestacy rules laws (as above).
The Crown inherits a deceased person’s estate if there are no known relatives.
These assets are referred to as ‘bona vacantia,’ which means “ownerless commodities.”
If you believe you are entitled to a share of a Crown estate, you can look it up on the government’s unclaimed estates list.
You will be paid interest on your share if you lodge a claim on a bona vacantia estate within 12 years on the date its administration was finished.
You have up to 30 years from death to receive your portion, but no interest will be given.
To be eligible, you must submit a family tree to the government’s Bona Vacantia Department (BVD), demonstrating your relationship to the deceased. If the BVD believes your claim is legitimate.
It will request additional evidence, such as a birth certificate and identification documents.
The BVD must be convinced that you are connected to the deceased and are entitled to a share of their assets.
If the BVD has already accepted the claim of another relative, you must make your claim to that individual.
Without a will, you may unintentionally disinherit those closest to you. The following are some common scenarios:
Even living with unmarried partners would never profit if you die intestate.
Getting married (or entering a civil partnership) or writing a will are the only ways to ensure your estate is bequeathed to your partner.
Stepchildren and foster children can inherit from your estate unless they are specifically named in your will.
When you marry in England or Wales, any previous will is nullified. Your estate will be split according to probate court rules unless you execute a new choice.
This means that most of your property will pass to your new husband, potentially leaving nothing for your children.
The rules for Intestacy rules in Scotland are slightly different. Prior rights are granted to a surviving partner (through marriage or civil partnership).
This includes a share of a family home worth £473,000 (assuming it is in Scotland and the intestate individual lived there when they died) and furniture, and other transportable assets.
After these have been divided, everything left is distributed among children and other living relatives based on ‘legal rights.’ On the other hand, the Succession Act specifies how the estate is divided.
There will be no executor if there is no Will (the person delegated to administer a Will).
An ‘administrator’ is appointed to govern the estate and obey the Intestacy rules requirements.
This will be determined by a precise reference to the list of eligible people in order of precedence, with surviving husbands, wives, or civil partners coming first, followed by children, parents, siblings, etc.
The administrator will need to apply for a ‘grant of representation’ from the Probate Registry.