Who Inherits If You Die Without a Will?

Published by Sophie Fillmore on 2020 02 26

Who Inherits If You Die Without a Will?

Intestacy – does that mean anything to you? If not, then it definitely should.


The Rules of Intestacy determine who inherits the estate of someone who dies without leaving a will (or a will that is not legally valid – more on this in a moment).


For deaths after 1 October 2014, there is a specific order by which the estate distribution is established:

  1. Where there is a surviving spouse (married or civil partnership) but no children, they inherit everything
  2. Where there is a surviving spouse and children – the spouse inherits the personal belongings and the first £270,000 (figure as of February 2020) of the estate.  The balance of the estate is then split into two halves with one half passing to the spouse and the other half passing to the children equally between them
  3. Where there is no surviving spouse but there are surviving children, the children inherit everything
  4. Where there is no surviving spouse or surviving children, the following categories in order (and only passing to the next category down where there are no surviving members in the current category):
    • Their parents;
    • Their siblings (or their children if a sibling has predeceased);
    • Their half-siblings (or their children if a half-sibling has predeceased);
    • Grandparents;
    • Aunts and uncles (or their issue if an aunt or uncle has predeceased);
    • Half aunts and uncles (or their issue if a half aunt or uncle had predeceased).


If there are no blood relatives then the estate will pass Bona Vacantia to the Crown.


For your will to be legally valid, you must:

  • be 18 or over
  • make it voluntarily
  • be of sound mind
  • make it in writing
  • sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18
  • have it signed by your 2 witnesses, in your presence


It is very important to make sure you have a valid will so that your estate can be distributed according to your wishes, and not by any other manner.


Speak to one of our financial advisers here at KDW Financial Planning to discuss your estate, inheritance tax planning and ultimately your legacy.