If someone dies without a valid will, their estate becomes subject to the rules of intestacy. Under these rules only married or civil partners and sometimes specific close relatives can inherit from the estate.
With the expertise and specialism that is fundamental to this area of law, Clifford Johnston & Co. can provide in depth legal advice on intestacy and its effect on any inheritance so contact us today on 0161 975 1900.
Anyone that dies without a valid will is known as an intestate person, and the rules of intestacy will determine how their assets must be shared out.
If you are married or in a civil partnership but have no children you will inherit all personal items and the entire proceeds of the estate of your deceased spouse of civil partner.
If you are married or in a civil partnership and have children you will receive everything in the estate of your deceased spouse including personal possessions up to the first £250,000. Anything over and above the £250,000 threshold is then divided between the spouse or civil partner (known as the residuary estate) and the children. For any children under the age of 18, the money will be held in a trust.
If the deceased was not married or in a civil partnership , the estate will pass in order of priority to:
- Children or grandchildren
- Siblings or their children
- Half siblings or their children
- Aunts and uncles or their children
- Half aunts and uncles or their children
If there are no surviving relatives, your estate will pass to the Crown.
Exceptions to Intestacy Rules
The following exceptions to these intestacy rules are also strictly adhered to if there is no will:
- Any property, bank account or business interest that is held jointly with another party will automatically pass to the surviving owner(s).
- A named beneficiary on a life insurance policy or pension scheme will receive those funds.
- Any money held in trust, will pass to the person(s) named in the legal documentation known as the trust instrument.
It is also possible to alter the way an estate is divided when there is no will as long as all the people who would inherit under the rules of intestacy agree. This is known as making a deed of family arrangement or variation and must be done within two years of the death.
How can we help when an estate in Intestate?
Dealing with an estate where there is no will can be time-consuming and challenging, particularly in complex cases including where:
- There are trust funds involved.
- A family home has to be sold in order for the assets to be divided between beneficiaries.
- Complicated family relationships mean that distributing the estate according to the rules of intestacy are difficult.
- A deed of family arrangement is required.
- A claim needs to be made on behalf of step-children or unmarried partners, who are not recognised by the rules of intestacy.
- If the deceased was separated but not formerly divorced and their previous partner has a claim on the estate according to the roles of intestacy.
The role of an estate administrator, where there is no will, can be demanding and stressful particularly as they can be held liable for any financial loss made due to an oversight or error.
At Clifford Johnson & Co. we aim to take away the burden and responsibility, at what is an already difficult time. We aim to relieve the level of emotional stress you are under and can effectively and efficiently administer the estate on your behalf, taking on both the responsibility and liability involved. We will liaise with all the relevant agencies including HMRC and the local authority, continually keeping you updated on our progress.
Contact our Wills team
The specialist team at Clifford Johnston & Co. has a wealth of experience in the administration of intestate estates and can help you deal with everything as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our friendly and experienced solicitors will deal with your case sensitively and with understanding so that you can rest assured that the estate of your loved one will be handled with care.
For comprehensive and affordable legal advice that you can rely on, contact the specialist Wills and Probate Solicitors in Stockport & Manchester