News & Insights

FAQ: Intestacy, what does it mean?

An individual dies ‘intestate’ if they die without making a will.

This can also occur if one of the following happens:-

  • The will is found to be invalid;
  • The will is revoked by the individual who made it by either destroying the document or marrying after making the will;
  • Partial intestacy may arise where the deceased fails to dispose of his entire estate in the will.

The distribution of estate will depend on which relatives the deceased has and the size of the estate. For example, if the deceased died with a living spouse or civil partner, children and their estate is under £250,000, their entire estate will pass to their spouse/civil partner.

If it is over £250,000, the first £250,000 will pass to pass to their spouse/civil partner and the remainder will be split 50% to the spouse/civil partner and 50% to surviving children.

Difficulties arise where a person has no close relatives. In these circumstances, we instruct genealogists to help us trace heirs to the estate. However, the law may also be changing to assist in such cases. The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill is currently passing through parliament and it has been proposed that mother’s names should also be recorded on marriage certificates in addition to a father’s details. This will assist greatly in the research of missing heirs.

If you wish to discuss this further please contact Ann Coutts on 020 8502 3991 for more information.

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