From 1st October 2014:

  • Spouse gets everything up to £270,000* & personal possessions.
  • Anything remaining is divided into two:-
    • Half to the children in equal share at 18 or earlier marriage.
    • Half to surviving spouse
  • If a child pre-deceases, leaving issue, his issue will take his share between them.
  • Married person, no children
  • All assets are passed to the spouse.
  • Unmarried person with children
  • Estate goes to children at 18 or earlier marriage.
  • If a child dies before you, leaving children then these children will share the estate equally.
  • Unmarried person with no children
  • Estate goes to parents.
  • If none, then to siblings of the whole blood or their issue.
  • If none, then to siblings of the half blood or their issue.
  • If none, then to grandparents.
  • If none, then to uncles and aunts of the whole blood or their issue.
  • If none, then to uncles and aunts of the half blood or their issue.
  • If there are no parents, siblings (whole or half blood), issue of siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts (whole or half blood), or issue of uncles or aunts, estate goes to the Crown.

What happens if I don’t leave a last Will?

In the UK, when a person dies without having left a valid legal Will, he or she is said to have died "intestate". English law sets out the rules which apply in that situation.

This is a simple guide only. There may be exceptions to the general rule which are not set out here. Appropriate professional advice should be taken before acting on any understanding of current English law as set out below:

*Note that these figures have changed over the years. If considering rules in relation to a death which has already occurred, the figure in force at the date of that death must be used. The figures shown apply for deaths on or after 1st February 2009.

Many people die in the UK without making a will, which can cause real problems for loved ones because the deceased’s true wishes are unknown. If you die without making a will, you are deemed to have died ‘intestate’ and English law – rather than you – decides who inherits your estate. Make sure you don’t leave yourself in the situation of not leaving a legal Will.

For more details and information about some of the key words,see our Glossary of Terms page

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