Understanding The Rules of Intestacy

7 Mar

I have written this article, in relation to the laws of England and Wales. The legislation in Scotland and Ireland are different. The point being make sure you have a Will and it is up-to-date and the following is to warn what happens if you don’t have a Will. Dying without leaving a Will can lead to unexpected results and can compromise the long-term financial security of your family. An understanding of the consequences of the intestacy rules reinforces the importance of making a Will.

If a person dies without making a Will distribution of their estate will become subject to the Rules of Intestacy. In short, the people the deceased wanted to benefit from their estate could be disinherited or left with a substantially smaller proportion of the estate than intended.  


Don’t leave it to chance

A Will is the cornerstone for Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning. Yet there are many studies showing that most people have not made a Will. This inertia could be due to the perceived expense of making a Will, facing our mortality (as this is planning for our death) or a misunderstanding of the law in this area. A common misconception might be that writing a Will is unnecessary as everything will pass to the spouse on death. While this might be true where the size of an estate is modest, or all assets are held as joint tenants, it is commonly noy be the case.

Where a Will has been made, it will be important to regularly review it to take account of changing circumstances. For example, unmarried partners have no right to inherit under the intestacy rules, nor do step-children who haven’t been legally adopted by their step-parent. Intestacy in England and Wales (summary of the provisions)


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