The intestacy rules say what happens to a person’s property and money if he or she dies without leaving a valid Will. Depending on the value of money/property left (the value of the estate), it would be split between the person’s spouse or civil partner and children, or if there are no children, between a persons spouse or civil partner and surviving parents and/or brother and sisters. If there is no spouse or civil partner, then the estate would go to the children, or if no children, the surviving parents or the surviving brother and sisters. There are other rules for other circumstances.
The main change from the 1st of October 2014 is that if a deceased person has a spouse or civil partner but no children, the surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit everything, rather than having to share it with the person’s surviving parents or siblings. If the deceased person has children, then the surviving spouse/civil partner will receive a statutory legacy of £250,000 plus the deceased’s personal belongings and half the estate.
The law has also changed to protect adopted children’s rights to inheritance and to allow anyone who was ‘treated as a child of the family’ to make a claim on the deceased person’s estate.
These changes make it very important to have a valid, up to date Will. If you do not and your family circumstances are at all unusual (e.g. you have separated from your spouse/civil partner and are living with a new family) your property and money may not go to the people you want to have it.
There is a government site with more information on the intestacy rules here
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