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. No surviving Parents (equally if both alive); but if none then
  2. Brothers and sisters of the whole blood (i.e. share the same parents as the deceased) on the statutory trusts; but if none then
  3. Brothers and sisters of the half-blood (i.e. 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 (i.e. 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.

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.