When someone dies without making a valid will.

Who inherits if someone dies without a will?

There are statutory rules which govern how the estate of the deceased should be administered in the event of there being no valid will. These rules are known as the Rules of Intestacy, and the deceased is said to have died intestate. Even if there is a will but it is not legally valid, for instance it may not have been witnessed correctly, the estate will not be shared out according to the wishes expressed in the will.

If there is no valid will the estate cannot be distributed in accordance with the intentions of the deceased as these are not effective. Instead there are rules which govern who will benefit and these are based on the next of kin of the deceased, each taking a share as set out in the Rules of Intestacy.

In 2014 new rules, made law by the Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Act, came into force. The rules only apply to married couples or couples in a civil partnership, a surviving partner who wasn't married or in a civil partnership with the deceased has no automatic right to inherit.


Click on this link and follow the step by step guide to see who inherits if someone dies without a will.

Wills and inheritance: how changes to the intestacy rules affect you



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