New Intestacy Rules

What’s Intestacy and why’s it so important? 

Last month in the importance of wills we highlighted the fact that an estimated 56% of adults in the UK don’t have a will in place. With new rules regarding intestacy coming in on the 01 October this question of wills is important.

So what is intestacy?

When someone passes away without making a valid will, intestacy rules will dictate who inherits the remaining estate.

Next week, one of the biggest overhauls of laws governing what happens to someone’s money when they die will come into force, that’s why you should be aware of the changes and what they might mean for you.

What changes from 1st October?

This legislation is intended to modernise the intestacy rules that apply to those who die without a Will (“intestate”). The two key modifications are outlined below:

Change 1 – When the intestate is married or in a civil partnership and does not have children, all assets will now pass to the surviving spouse. Previously, parents or siblings of the intestate were entitled to half of the remaining estate to be shared with the spouse.

Change 2 – Where the intestate leaves behind a spouse and children, the spouse now receives a statutory legacy of £250,000 plus half of the estate. Any children of the deceased will receive the other half of the remaining estate at the age of 18.

These new rules do not impact on unmarried couples (whether they have children or not), as without a will, cohabitees are not entitled to receive any of the remaining estate.

If you would like more detail on the specific changes in the intestacy laws, you might want to take a look at this article. To find out who is entitled to a share of someone’s money, property and possessions after they die, take this quiz.

Do you know the rules of inheritance?

As defined by the Rules of Intestacy, when someone passes away and they are married, their spouse will inherit their estate. For those who aren’t married, this is the order of recipients for inheritance without a will:

  1. Children or their descendants
  2. Parents
  3. Brothers or sisters or their descendants
  4. Half siblings or their descendants
  5. Grandparents
  6. Uncles and/or aunts or their descendants
  7. Half uncles and/or aunts or their descendants
  8. Whole estate passes to the crown

Need help writing a will?

Did you know that anyone aged 55+ can get their will written or updated for free during Free Wills Month, which runs for the month of October. This campaign hopes to secure legacy gifts across the UK, although please note that you are under no obligation to leave a gift to any of the charities. To find out more, visit

Following this, November is Will Aid Month, a UK-wide scheme to provide basic wills in exchange for a donation to charity. Donations start at £90 for a single will, or £135 for a couple but for more information just head to the Will Aid website.

We hope you found this useful and whilst the new rules are an improvement and help simplify matters in certain circumstances, the message is the same – if you want to ensure that your wishes are carried out smoothly after you pass on, making a will is the way to do it.