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Posted 21 February 2017
by Harriet Stevens

Intestacy Rules – What happens if you were to die without a Will?



Are you aware that, on your death, if your Will is proven to be invalid, the assets you own will be treated as though you had no Will?

A Will can be invalid for a number of reasons, below are just a few examples of these:

  • the person making the Will lacked testamentary capacity
  • the Will was incorrectly witnessed or signed
  • revocationa Will that has been revoked by the making of a new Will, by destroying the old one or by getting married.

Anyone who dies without having a valid Will, is known to have died intestate. This means that their estate (their assets and liabilities) will be administered and distributed according to the intestacy rules.

What are the intestacy rules?

In England and Wales there are a statutory set of rules that are enforced if you die intestate, your estate will be divided according to these rules and irrespective of what your intentions actually were. This means there is a risk that your estate may not be divided, on your death, in the way you would have wished.

These rules were updated under the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 and currently state that, if you are;

  • Married or in a civil partnership and without any child or children – your spouse will inherit the whole of your estate regardless of how much the estate’s worth on your death.
  • Married or in a civil partnership and with a child or children – your spouse will inherit the first £250,000 of your estate, including any personal possessions you have at your death. Anything above this amount will be divided between your spouse and your children, with half passing to your spouse and half divided between any child or children you have.
  • Unmarried, with or without children – in the first instance any child or children you have will inherit your estate, while parents and other blood relatives stand to inherit next should you have no children. In the unlikely and very rare instance that you were to die leaving no surviving relatives, your estate would pass to the Treasury.

Do these rules achieve your aim? If not, you will need to make a Will.

Should you need any advice, do not hesitate to contact a member of the Tozers Wealth Management Team, who would be happy to discuss your circumstances to make sure that your Will meets your true intentions. Here at Tozers we have a specialist team who are able to draft both simple and complex Wills. All of our services are tailored to meet each individual client’s needs.

For further advice please contact our specialist Wealth Management team on: 01392 207020 or email: enquiries@tozers.co.uk

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About the author

Harriet Stevens

Paralegal

Paralegal for the Wealth Management team in both the Exeter and Teignmouth offices