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Guide to intestacy

Posted on 24th March 2020 in Dispute Resolution

Posted by

Martin Laver

Partner and Solicitor
Guide to intestacy

The amount a surviving spouse will inherit from their partners estate if they pass without a Will is set to increase.


What is intestacy?

The intestacy rules take effect where an individual dies without a valid Will in place. These rules set out how an intestate estate is to be administered, i.e. how the inheritance is to be distributed to the deceased’s family.


How much can you inherit from your partners estate without a Will?

Where there is a surviving spouse, they will inherit the first £270,000 from the estate. This was increased from £250,000 last month (6 February 2020). The remainder of the estate will then be administered in accordance with the intestacy rules which will depend on the value of the estate, whether there are surviving children, parents, siblings and so on.


Why you should write a Will and avoid intestacy

The recent increase in a spouse’s inheritance from an intestate estate highlights the importance of having a valid Will in place. Leaving your estate to the intestacy rules may leave your children receiving a small percentage of your estate which may be against your wishes and leaving them in a difficult emotional and financial position.

Unfortunately it is fairly common for people to die intestate with their children being left an insufficient sum. In this instance, certain claims may be able to be made against the estate for the benefit of surviving children (or other close relatives).

Another significant drawback of the Intestacy rules is that they do not apply to unmarried cohabitees. Accordingly, an unmarried partner will not be entitled to any inheritance from their partner’s estate. However, it does not end there as we may be able to assist you under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.


What should you do if you don't inherit enough under intestacy?

If, in the unfortunate situation, you find yourself in a position where you do not receive a sufficient sum under the intestacy rules, we may be able to assist you in making a claim for a greater share of the estate. If you are one of the following category of people, we might be able to help you:

1. Child or sibling where the deceased’s spouse receives the majority of the estate;
2. Spouse, if your financial position is such that your inheritance under the intestacy rules do not provide you with reasonable financial provision.
3. You are an unmarried cohabitee who does not benefit under the intestacy rules.


Find out more

For further advice and guidance please contact our team of expert lawyers.

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