Rules of Intestacy – Order of Priority
The rules of intestacy come into effect when a person passes away without a Will. In such cases, the legal framework determines the beneficiaries who are entitled to a portion of the deceased person's assets, belongings, and finances.
Outlined below is the hierarchical distribution of entitlement:
a) The initial priority lies with the surviving spouse or civil partner, who is eligible to inherit the first £322,000 of the estate (noteworthy is the recent increase from £275,000). The remaining estate is then divided into halves: one half is allocated to the surviving spouse or civil partner, while the other half is evenly shared among any existing children.
b) If there is no surviving spouse or civil partner, the entirety of the estate is passed on to the children.
c) In the absence of surviving children, the spouse or civil partner receives the entire estate.
d) The subsequent entitlement belongs to the parents.
e) Next in line are siblings of the whole blood.
f) Following are siblings of the half-blood.
g) Then come the grandparents.
h) Subsequently, aunts or uncles of the whole blood.
i) Finally, aunts or uncles of the half-blood.
To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it is advisable to create a Will. Failure to do so means that the law will dictate the distribution of your assets, possibly leading to challenging financial circumstances. It's important to note that a partner, boyfriend, or girlfriend, who is not legally recognised as a spouse or civil partner, will not be considered for a share of your estate. This situation can also contribute to strained family dynamics and other complexities.
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The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.