When someone dies without a valid will they are considered intestate and their estate must be shares according to the intestacy rules.
With two third of people not having a will in place this is unfortunately a common occurrence, which can cause headaches for those left behind when they come to deal with the estate.
You should strongly consider making a will giving you a peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of after you are gone.
The intestacy rules specify a rigid order of who should benefit from the estate. The highest existing and surviving relative will take priority.
If the estate is worth less than £250,000 then the whole amount is passed on the spouse or civil partner, however if the value of the estate exceeds £250,000 then the spouse keeps the £250,000 but is also entitled to half of the remaining estate and the rest is split equally between the children or grandchildren of the deceased if the children have already died.
If there are no surviving decedents, the whole of the estate goes to the next highest relative in order of importance above and if the deceased has none of the surviving relatives listed above, then the estate will go to the crown, a situation known as ‘bono vacantia’.
The order above also determines who will act as administrator for the estate, this person will be responsible to take care of the inheritance tax and sharing the estate.
Another reason why you should ensure to have a will in place is because there are also some exclusions as to who can benefit from the estate where there is no valid will in place, such as;
None of the above will be able to benefit from the estate under the intestacy rules and where there is no will in place.
If you require further information about Intestacy Rules and Inheritance Tax, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.