What is intestacy?

This is when a person dies without leaving a valid Will. This can be when a person dies without having made a Will, or it can be when the person has made a Will, but the Will is not legally valid.

In both cases the deceased would be 'intestate' and the rules of intestacy would apply.

Under the rules of intestacy, married partners or civil partners will only inherit if they are actually married or in a Civil Partnership at the time of death.If you have divorced, or dissolved a civil partnership, you cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy. 

If partners have separated informally but not divorced, then one can still inherit under the rules of intestacy should their partner die.

Who cannot inherit

If you are living together and not married or in a civil partnership, it is important to have a legally valid Will. If you do not, then the people who benefit from your estate might not be those you intended.​

If you die without leaving a Will the following will have no right to inherit your estate:

  • Unmarried partners
  • Lesbian or gay partners not in a marriage or civil partnership
  • Carers
  • Relations by marriage
  • Close friends

How do the rules work?

If there are surviving children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the deceased and the estate is valued at more than £250.000, the partner will inherit;

  • The first £250,000 of the estate
  • Half of the remaining estate
  • All of the belongings of the deceased

If there are no surviving children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, the partner will inherit:

  • the whole of the estate
  • all the personal property and belongings of the deceased

Intestacy can be very distressing for loved ones left behind. If you are a business owner without a Will, your death could have far-reaching and damaging consequences for those involved in the business. The best option is to have  a properly drafted and executed Will.

Contact our team for details on 01827 317070