When someone dies and has not made a Will, they are deemed to have died ‘Intestate’. If there is no Will, any beneficiaries will inherit according to the Intestacy Rules of the country where the assets are situated.
Intestacy laws across the world will vary by government and religion. Some countries have ‘forced heirship’ where certain relatives inherit, whether there is a Will or not. However, there is still the option of leaving something from the residue of your estate to your chosen beneficiaries.
Fe example, in England and Wales, when a person dies without a Will, the estate will pass to ONE of the following in this order and relatives further down the line will not inherit.
- Spouse (if no children)
- Spouse and children. Spouse receives the first £270,000 and all personal possessions. The rest of the estate is split into two halves. The spouse receives one half. The children share the other half (in trust if they are under 18).
- Children (no spouse) or their surviving bloodline
- Brothers and sisters (full blood) or their surviving direct descendants
- Brothers and sisters (half-blood) or their surviving direct descendants
- Uncles and aunts (full blood) or their surviving direct descendants
- Uncles and aunts (half-blood) or their surviving direct descendants
- If there are no traceable beneficiaries, The Crown receives the estate
Adopted children are treated as bloodline. Stepchildren / Dependent children are not recognised.
So, it is important to make your Will to ensure that your estate is inherited by the beneficiaries you choose.
Excelsior is available to help you with these difficult decisions and we welcome any queries or concerns you may have. Feel free to contact us.
Free advice is available by text or email.
+44 7939 578 631