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*Update 13/02/2015

On the 1st of October 2014 the laws of Intestacy were updated, please read Intestacy Rules 2015 Flowchart for the up to date Intestacy laws.

In England & Wales, If you die without making a Will, the State makes one for you.

The state does this by following a set of Statutory Legacies known as the Rules of Intestacy.

The current levels for Statutory Legacies came into effect in February 2009.

There are many well-documented cases of extreme hardship and difficulty resulting from people dying intestate.

If you want to ensure your estate goes to the people you love and is not distributed by the state, then you need to Make a Will

Intestacy Rules of England & Wales

At present in England and Wales, if you die without a Will or your Will is invalid due to being incorrectly signed or witnessed then your estate is distributed as follows:

(1) With no children, parents, brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces – the spouse inherits everything.

(2) If there are children, the spouse takes the personal chattels (car, furniture, clothing etc.) and £250,000 and INCOME ONLY from HALF of the residue (the balance). The children are entitled to half the residue when they are 18 (or if they marry earlier) PLUS the other half of the residue on the death of the surviving parent.

(3) If there are no children but there are parents, brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces, then the spouse takes the personal chattels plus £450,000 plus half the residue.

The other half of the residue is given in order to either:

a) parent(s) or if they are dead then to

b) brothers and sisters or if they are dead then to nephews and nieces

(4) If there is no surviving spouse then everything is taken by:

a) children but if none then by

b) parents but if none then by

c) brother, sisters or nephews and nieces

d) grandparents but if none then by

e) uncles, aunts or cousins – but if none then by

f) The Crown

Don’t Put Off Making A Will!

People often put off making a Will for a variety of reasons.

Unfortunately, you can end up putting off making a Will until it is too late.

Having no Will in place can pose all sorts of problems for the people you leave behind and could mean that your inheritance either goes to the wrong person or to the state through the laws of intestacy.

Related Links

Law of Intestacy
IHTM12111 – Succession: intestacy: rules in England and Wales
Making A Will Online