Intestacy Rules

We understand that knowing what to do if your loved one dies without a Will can be very difficult, especially if your family is quite large. However, our solicitors' knowledge and expertise can help you understand what to do. We can also give you support and guidance on how your loved one's estate will be dealt with.

If a person dies without leaving a legally valid Will behind, they are referred to as dying 'intestate'. After their death their estate will be shared out according to the rules of intestacy. These rules are quite complex, however you don't need to worry. With our team by your side, your loved one's estate will be dealt with fairly and efficiently, without causing you stress.

Quick Links

About intestacy

Intestacy meaning

The meaning of intestacy is fairly straightforward: it is simply the name for the situation when someone dies without leaving a Will.

If your loved one died intestate, it usually means that the process of valuing and distributing their estate falls down to their next of kin or closest living relative to manage.

This may not always be who you think it may, the Law has a strict order on who can deal with an intestate estate and can prove problematic for unmarried couples or people who think they have no blood relatives.

This process can be quite simple, however there could also be complications if you have a large family or family relations are strained. Our solicitors are experts in dealing with the estates of people who have died without a Will, and have a thorough understanding of the intestacy rules.

We are on hand to help you if your loved one has died without a Will. It may seem overwhelming, but with our help you needn’t stress.

If someone dies intestate

If someone dies intestate, the law will decide who inherits their estate according to certain criteria. These criteria are known as the intestacy rules.

If there are no living relatives to inherit the estate, it will pass to the Crown, and Her Majesty’s Treasury will become responsible for the estate.

Although the rules of intestacy are rigid they can often be confusing, so it is always best to consult a legal professional if your loved one has died without a legal Will. This is especially true if you aren’t entirely sure what assets your loved one had.

Although these rules can be complicated to understand, we are here to help. We will ensure that you feel comfortable knowing how the estate will be distributed and are here to answer all questions you have.

Claiming inheritance without a Will

Our team can help you establish if you are eligible to claim inheritance if your loved one passed without a Will. We will help you to understand the rules of intestacy and how these impact upon your inheritance.

Although claiming inheritance without your loved one leaving a Will is possible, whether you are eligible to receive any will depend on your relationship to them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how close you were to them emotionally, if you don’t qualify under the rules of intestacy you will not be eligible to claim any inheritance.

If you are unsure whether the intestacy rules allow you to inherit any of your loved one’s estate, our team will be able to help you. We can help those whose family relationships are complex and those whose are strained. We approach every case with sensitivity, and will make sure that you understand every step we take.

Intestacy rules

We know that the intestacy rules are difficult to understand, which is why we’re here to help. We want to make the process easier for you to understand, and will do our best to do so.

There are many rules for different circumstances within the rules of intestacy. How you are treated under the rules of intestacy will depend on your relationship to the person who passed without a Will. In short, the rules are as follows.

Those who can inherit under the intestacy rules:

  • Married and civil partners – as long as they are actually married or in a civil partnership with the deceased at time of death
  • Informally separated partners
  • Children of the intestate person – the whole estate if there is no married or civil partner, or, a share of the estate if it is valued at over £250,000 and there is a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Children whose parents are not married or haven’t registered a civil partnership
  • Parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews of the intestate person, but only in certain circumstances

Those who cannot inherit under the intestacy rules:

  • Divorced or dissolved civil partners
  • Cohabiting partners
  • Children of the intestate person if the latter had a married or civil partner – unless the estate is worth over £250,000, in which case they will receive a share
  • Close friends
  • Carers

If your family’s situation is particularly complex and you are unsure about who has a right to inherit part of an intestate loved one’s estate, our specialist solicitors can help you. We support our clients no matter how complicated their circumstances may be, and strive to make the process of inheritance as simple and stress-free as possible.

Our intestacy services

Here at AWH we understand that the rules of intestacy can be difficult to comprehend, and it can be hard to know who has a right to what after a loved one dies without a Will. We can help you establish your rights, and responsibilities if you have them, when it comes to your loved one’s estate.

It is often a stressful time after a person dies intestate, which is why we want to help you. Our team can take the weight off your shoulders and deal with the processes necessary after your loved one passes away. This may include Probate, paying Inheritance Tax, or setting up a Trust fund. Whatever you need, our Trusts, Wills and Probate solicitors can help you.

FAQ

  • What happens when someone dies without a Will?

    When someone dies without a Will they are called an intestate person, and their estate will be subject to the rules of intestacy.

    These are specific rules which dictate how the distribution of the estate should occur. There will be an Administrator appointed to carry out the valuation and distribution of the estate, who could be the next of kin or closest living relative.

  • What happens to property if there is no Will?

    If there is no Will, what happens to the property is decided using the intestacy rules. This means that the next of kin or closest living relative to the person who died is appointed to administrate their estate, which includes what happens with the property.

    Who gets the property depends on the specific family situation, but the intestacy rules are strict when it comes to who inherits what.

  • Who inherits if there is no Will?

    If there is no Will left when someone dies, who inherits is decided by the rules of intestacy. These are set rules that state the certain circumstances that dictate who in the person's family inherits what.

    For example, if a married person with no children dies intestate, their spouse receives all of the estate. If there are children in the equation, the spouse will receive all personal property and belongings, the first £250,000 of the estate and half of what remains.

  • What happens if parents die without a Will?

    If both of your parents die without a Will or Wills, the children will inherit their whole estate. If you have siblings, the estate will be split equally between you all.

    If just one of your parents dies without a Will, your parents were still married or in a civil partnership at the time of death, and their estate is worth £250,000 or less your surviving parent will inherit the whole estate. If the estate is worth any more than this, your surviving parent will inherit the first £250,000 and the remaining value will be give to you or split among you and your siblings.

  • Can cousins inherit under an intestacy?

    Yes, cousins can inherit under the rules of intestacy, but only in a very specific situation. If a person is unmarried, with no:

    • Children,
    • Parents,
    • Siblings,
    • Nieces or nephews,
    • Half siblings,
    • Grandparents, and
    • Aunts or Uncles,

    would cousins be eligible to inherit anything from the person's estate.

  • Who is the Executor of an estate without a Will?

    The person who operates in the same way as an Executor if the owner of an estate dies without a will is called the Administrator.

    There can only be one Administrator, and they are usually the deceased person's next of kin or closest living relative.

  • How to claim inheritance without a Will?

    To claim inheritance without a will you must be related to the person who has passed away. The rules of intestacy will apply, which means that the deceased person's next of kin or closest living relative will be appointed to Administer their estate.

    The Administrator will then be responsible for distributing any inheritance to the relevant people, such as spouses, civil partners and children.

Starting the process couldn’t be more simple!

  • Contact us Contact us Get in touch however suits you best and arrange a consulation with one of our solicitors
  • Meet an expert Meet an expert You’ll meet the expert solicitor assigned to your case and discuss all the necessary details
  • Authorise Authorise Once we’ve got all the details of your case and you’re happy to proceed, just give us the go-ahead
  • We get to work We get to work It’s time for us to get to work! We’ll set up your file on our system and get to work right away
We’re with you, every step of the way

What our clients are saying about us

4.4/5
We received an average 4.4 out of 5 based on 374 reviews.
Anonymous
You were the third solicitor firm who handled my claim. Things were going at a pedantic rate but your file handles Craig Johnson kept me informed and advised me whenever! The claim took over 3 years from start to finish but Craig worked on it in good time.
Client Satisfaction Survey
Anonymous
Many thanks to Stacy and everyone else at AWH for their hard work.
Client Satisfaction Survey
Emma
Fantastic solicitors would highly recommend! Mr Phoenix dealt with my case in a highly professional manner, the communication was constant which eased my mind through the stressful time!

Our Promise to You

  • Friendly, personal legal services Friendly, personal legal services

    We promise that our approachable solicitors will provide you with a genuinely personal service that puts your needs first. Our team of experts are always on hand to give you support when you need it.

  • Award-winning service in our fields of expertise Award-winning service in our fields of expertise

    We pride ourselves in offering the highest standards of service across each of our legal departments. Regardless of your situation, we promise to provide you with the very best legal advice.

  • Advice tailored to your needs Advice tailored to your needs

    We promise to listen to your needs and offer the right guidance for your situation.

    There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution in any area of the law. Every case requires a tailored approach and you deserve a solicitor who understands this.

  • Outstanding customer service and care Outstanding customer service and care

    Our excellent reputation is built on our exceptional level of client care.

    Every case is handled with the highest level of respect and many of our clients go on to recommend us after building an invaluable relationship with our solicitors.

  • Transparent fees and processes Transparent fees and processes

    Transparency is very important to us. We promise to provide you with total Transparencyrency on fees, so you know exactly what you are paying for. We’ll also make sure you’re kept updated on the progress of your case every step of the way.

  • Approachable and friendly solicitors