What are the ‘Rules of Intestacy’?

When a person dies their property, finances and possessions, known as the ‘estate’, are inherited. This is usually by a family member; however, it can be anyone you wish, providing you make a valid Will. If there is no valid Will, the estate will be inherited by the next of kin. This is known as the “Rules of Intestacy” or the Intestacy Rules.

The rules place your relatives in an order of priority as to who can inherit, as follows:

  1. Spouse or civil partner
  2. Children
  3. Grandchildren/great grandchildren
  4. Parents
  5. Siblings
  6. Grandparents
  7. Aunts and uncles
  8. Half aunts and half uncles

The rules do not reflect many modern-day families, for example stepchildren and unmarried partners are not covered under the rules. A person wishes or intentions are not considered under these rules, therefore a Will is needed to override the rules of intestacy.

How can a Will help?

A valid Will allows a person to appoint a specific person to manage their estate, known as an executor, and to detail exactly how they want their estate shared.  A carefully prepared  Will will take priority over the rules of intestacy, meaning a person can leave various possessions, property and/or finances to specific people.

A Will is particularly important if you:

  • Are not married
  • Are separated from a spouse
  • Have children
  • You are estranged from immediate family
  • Own property, have savings and/or valuables

To discuss your specific situation with our wills, trusts and probate team you can call our enquiry team and make an appointment. We offer fixed fees on most of our matters and flexible appointments to suit your needs. If you can’t make it into the office, we offer telephone appointments.

You can email Howells to make an appointment at [email protected], visit our website or call us:

Sheffield0114 249 66 66

Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90

Rotherham0170 936 40 00

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