If you do not have a valid Will at the time of your death, your assets will be divided as per the rules of intestacy. The rules of intestacy follow a certain pattern so you need to keep going through the list until you find a category that has a surviving relative.
If you are married at the time of your death
If you die leaving a spouse or civil partner and no children, then your spouse will inherit your estate.
If you are married and have children at the time of your death
If you die leaving a spouse or civil partner, if your estate is worth no more than £270,000 your spouse or civil partner will inherit all of your estate. If, however, you leave an estate worth more than £270,000, the estate will be divided between your spouse or civil partner and any children so that your spouse or civil partner will receive £270,000 and the remaining sum will be divided between your spouse/civil partner and children equally.
If you only have children at the time of your death
Your children will inherit all your estate equally between them. Although if a child predeceases you, and has children, then their children (your grandchildren by that child) would take their deceased parent’s share.
If at the time of your death, you are not married or in a civil partnership and have no children or grandchildren then your estate will pass to extended family in the following order of priority:
- Any living parents
- Any brothers and sisters
- Any half siblings
- Any living grandparents
- Any aunts and uncles (or their children – your cousins if aunts and uncles have predeceased them)
- Any half aunts and uncles
- The crown
If you do not have a valid Will, the rules above are followed. This means that, if you have a partner at the time of your death and are not married, then they will not inherit anything. Having a valid Will also allows for the possibility of leaving your assets to any godchildren, friends or charities, for example. A Will can also allow you to appoint a person to administer your estate (known as your executor) as well as define many other roles and wishes you may have.
If you would like to book an appointment to draft a Will, please contact us on 0118 9589711 or email email@example.com and our Private Client team will be happy to assist you.