Many people choose to make a Will to record their wishes as to how they want their assets to be dealt with after their death. A Will sets out who should benefit from their wealth after they die.
When someone dies without having made a Will that creates and intestacy and the law sets out how their Estate is to be distributed.
The Intestacy Rules govern who gets what when someone dies without a Will. Spouses and civil partners are provided for as are children, if there is no-one in these categories, wider relatives will receive a benefit.
The current Intestacy Rules can be found here.
At present, unmarried partners or people who are co-habiting are not recognised by the Intestacy Rules. The Rules also set out how much certain categories of claimant can receive in an intestacy. In some cases the amount is determined by a straight division of the Estate, in other cases, specific amounts can be paid.
In some cases this can mean that people who were important to the deceased are not provided for. That can give rise to a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. A successful claim may result in the division of the Estate being changed to ensure that, for example, a co-habiting partner is provide for.
If there is no Will and no-one is entitled to the Estate under the Intestacy Rules the assets of the deceased will pass to the Government under the “bona vacantia” rules.
For more information, please contact a member of our Contentious Trust & Probate team.
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