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Intestacy for Single People

Intestacy for single people in the UK refers to the situation where a person dies without leaving a valid will and is not survived by a spouse or civil partner. In such cases, their estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.

Under the intestacy rules, the deceased’s estate will be distributed to their closest living relatives, such as children, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and so on, in a particular order of priority. If there are no surviving relatives, the estate may pass to the Crown.

It’s important to note that intestacy can lead to complications, delays and uncertainty in the distribution of an estate, and may not reflect the deceased’s wishes or preferences. To avoid these issues, it’s always recommended to make a valid will, which allows you to decide how your assets should be distributed after your death.

 

Dying without a will is called Intestacy

Dying without a valid will is referred to as dying intestate or intestacy. When someone dies intestate, their estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy, which vary depending on the jurisdiction. In general, intestacy laws prioritise the deceased’s closest living relatives in the distribution of their assets, but this can lead to complications and disputes and may not reflect the deceased’s wishes or preferences. It’s always recommended to make a valid will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death.

 

No spouse or children? Your estate goes to your parents

In the UK, if you die intestate and you have no spouse or children, your estate will typically be distributed to your parents. If your parents have predeceased you, then your estate may be distributed to your siblings or their children. If you have no surviving siblings or their children, your estate may be distributed to your grandparents, aunts, uncles or their children.

It’s important to note that the exact distribution of your estate will depend on the specific rules of intestacy in the relevant jurisdiction, which may vary depending on where you live. To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it’s always recommended to make a valid will.

 

Common Law Partner? They are entitled to Nothing (honestly, this is terrible in most situations)

In the UK, the term “common law partner” has no legal status, which means that unmarried couples who live together and are not in a civil partnership or marriage do not have the same legal rights as married couples or civil partners.

If one of the partners dies without leaving a valid will, the surviving partner will not automatically inherit anything from the deceased’s estate, even if they have been living together for many years. This can lead to significant financial and emotional difficulties for the surviving partner. 

To avoid this situation, it’s important for unmarried couples to make wills that clearly set out their wishes for the distribution of their assets in the event of their death. This can ensure that the surviving partner is provided for and that their rights are protected. Alternatively, they could consider entering into a civil partnership or getting married, which would give them legal recognition and provide them with legal rights and protections.

 

No living parents? Next in line is your siblings and their children

In the UK, if you die intestate and you have no living spouse or children, your estate will typically be distributed to your parents. However, if your parents are not alive, then your estate will be distributed to your siblings or their children.

If you have siblings who have predeceased you but have children, then those children (your nieces and nephews) will inherit their parent’s share of your estate. This is known as “per stirpes” distribution.

It’s important to note that the exact distribution of your estate will depend on the specific rules of intestacy in the relevant jurisdiction, which may vary depending on where you live. To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it’s always recommended to make a valid will.

 

After that is Grandparents then Aunts & Uncles

If you die intestate and you have no surviving spouse, children, parents or siblings then your estate will be distributed to your grandparents or if they are not alive, to their descendants.

If you have no surviving grandparents or their descendants, then your estate will be distributed to your aunts and uncles, or if they are not alive to their children (your cousins).

It’s important to note that the exact distribution of your estate will depend on the specific rules of intestacy in the relevant jurisdiction, which may vary depending on where you live. 

 

No near relatives? 100% goes to the Crown (and no one wants that!)

If you die intestate in the UK and you have no surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or any other living relatives, then your estate will pass to the Crown as ownerless property.

This is known as “bona vacantia”, which means “vacant goods” in Latin. In practice, the government’s Treasury Solicitor manages such estates on behalf of the Crown and any assets that are recovered will be used for public benefit.

It’s important to note that dying intestate and having your estate pass to the Crown can lead to significant complications and delays in the administration of your estate and it may not reflect your wishes or preferences. To avoid this situation, it’s always recommended to make a valid will that clearly sets how you want your assets to be distributed after your death.

 

Legacy Planning can be complicated… time to stop researching and start doing!

Vikki Baptie

NRLA Accredited Landlord and IPW Professional Will Writer

I’m Vikki, the founder of Legacy Guardians. I hope this article was helpful, but I can probably guess that it’s about time that you stopped researching and got on with getting everything in order.

I know how it can be hard juggling everything with 15 properties, 3 kids, 1 dog, 1 Property Business and another couple of trading businesses things like succession and legacy planning usually go on the backburner. (thank goodness for my business & life partner Shaun!)

Take back your time, and gain that all important financial peace of mind by working through my Landlord Legacy Framework.