Three in five people die every year without a Will. That means their assets will be dispersed under the strict Rules of Intestacy. Here is how that plays out.
Did the person who died have a spouse or civil partner? (Cohabitees NEVER qualify)
If they did and have biological or adopted children, the spouse or civil partner gets the first £250,000, personal belongings & half the rest. The remaining half goes to the children when they turn 18. Some people think that if they don’t have a Will it is ok as everything will pass to their spouse. This is not the case. If you never married but lived together, your cohabitee does not qualify. Without making an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975
Other things to note:
- Step relations, relations by marriage only and cohabitees NEVER qualify under the intestacy rules.
- Formally adopted children are treated as being of whole blood (with both parents in common).
- But, blood children who have been subsequently formally adopted into a different family before the death lose their entitlement.
The person who died was on their own and had surviving or deceased children.
In this case, the estate is shared equally among the children or descendants of a deceased child.
The person who died had no children.
If their parents are still alive the estate is shared equally between the parents or all to the surviving parent if one has died.
If there are no children and no surviving parents, then Rules of Intestacy look for whole blood brothers or sisters and their descendants and so on down the blood line.
All of this can take many months to arrange.
To safeguard your affairs, it is so much easier for your surviving relatives if you have taken the time to put your wishes in a formal Will and especially if you are living with a loved one, but never married.