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When do they apply?

The ‘intestacy rules’ govern the distribution of a deceased’s estate when the deceased has died either:

  • Wholly intestate (i.e. without disposing of any property by a Will due to never making one or their Will being invalid)

In these circumstances the entire estate will be governed by the intestacy rules.

  • Partially intestate (i.e. there is a valid Will but it does not dispose of the whole of the estate).

In these circumstances the rules will only apply to the deceased’s property that does not pass under the Will.

Who is entitled to a grant of administration?

The order of persons entitled to apply for grant of administration is governed by the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987. The order broadly follows the order of entitlement to share in the estate of the intestate (as seen below). For anyone in a lower category wishing to obtain the grant they would have to satisfactorily account for all those in a higher category.

The obtaining of a grant can be stressful and time consuming. It can involve a personal attendance at Court. Kew Law LLP can prepare the papers that lead to a grant of administration and make an application to the Court on your behalf.

Who is entitled to the estate?

For deaths after 1 October 2014:-

  • Married couples and civil partners without children

The spouse or civil partner inherits the full estate regardless of whether there are surviving parents or not.

  • Married couples and civil partners with children

The spouse (or civil partner) is entitled to:

  1. The personal chattels absolutely
  2. Statutory legacy of £250,000
  3. One half of what is left.

The remaining one half is shared equally among the children.
All property passing to the surviving spouse or civil partner under these rules passes tax free as if it enjoys the benefit of the inheritance tax spouse/civil partner exemption.

  • There is no surviving spouse or civil partner and there are children or remoter issue of the deceased.

The whole estate will pass to the children of the deceased in equal shares. If any of the children have died leaving issue, then the issue will receive their parents’ share per stirpes.

  • There is no surviving spouse or civil partner and there are no children or remoter issue of the deceased.

If there are no surviving spouse/civil partner or issue, the order of entitlement to share in the estate is as follows:

  1. Parents (equally if both alive); but if none then
  2. Brothers and sisters of the whole blood (ie share the same parents as the deceased) on the statutory trusts; but if none then
  3. Brothers and sisters of the half blood (ie who share one parent with the deceased) on the statutory trusts; but if none then
  4. Grandparents (equally if more than one); but if none then
  5. Uncles and aunts of the whole blood (ie brothers and sisters of the whole blood of one of the intestate’s parents) on the statutory trusts. It is blood relatives of the intestate who are entitled, not those related by marriage.
  • No surviving relatives entitled to qualify in the estate

If there are no surviving relatives entitled to qualify in the estate then the Crown takes the residuary estate as “bona vacantia”.
There is no entitlement under the intestacy rules for a divorced spouse or a spouse judicially separated but he/she may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 through the Courts. Similar provisions apply where the deceased left a surviving civil partner.

Contact us or call our call our mobile friendly number on 033 33 22 1000 or 0800 987 8156 to book an initial consultation with a Solicitor.

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