Who inherits if there is no will?

It is estimated that as many as 30 million people across the UK do not have a will. Losing somebody close to you is a difficult enough time for anybody, but if that person dies without leaving a will, it can cause additional distress and upset. You may be wondering, who inherits if there is no will?

There are strict rules around how somebody’s estate is shared out if they haven’t written a will – these are known as the rules of intestacy. Somebody who dies without leaving a will is known as an intestate person.

Only certain relationships automatically inherit under the rules of intestacy, and it’s important to know where you stand if you find yourself in this situation.

Who inherits under intestacy rules?

If somebody leaves behind a husband or wife, or a civil partner, that person would normally inherit the estate. Children of the intestate person will automatically inherit providing there is no surviving married or civil partner. If there is a surviving partner, a child only inherits from the estate if the estate is valued at over £270,000. If there are two or more children, the children will inherit in equal shares.

Who doesn’t inherit under intestacy rules?

So, understanding who does inherit is one thing, but what about who can’t inherit? Where does this leave you if you’ve lost a loved one who wasn’t a parent, or a married or civil partner?

If somebody leaves behind an unmarried partner, was related to the intestate person by marriage, or was a close friend or a carer, they would have no claim on their estate. And if the intestate person has no living relative, their estate automatically goes to the Crown who deal with it on the deceased’s behalf.

Protecting your estate

The rules around intestacy can cause confusion for the loved ones left behind. At Cartridges Law we would recommend that everybody leaves a will, and that they update it if their circumstances change. Being sure of who will inherit your estate should you pass away, leaves one less thing to think about, and can ensure that your loved ones will be protected after you’ve gone.

Get in touch with us today to ensure that your will is up to date, or to discuss your options if you have been excluded from inheritance under intestacy rules.