What happens if you die without a Will?

If you die without having a valid Will, your estate is distributed in accordance with Intestacy rules.

The following provides a brief guide, not an exhaustive summary of intestacy law and applies to permanent residents of England and Wales. Intestacy rules are different for residents of Scotland and your nearest Skipton branch can provide you with information explaining the Scottish rules. Or you can phone us on 0345 607 9711 to find out more.

  • Are you Married or in a Civil Partnership?

    • Yes

      If you have children, your spouse/civil partner will receive personal possessions - the first £270,000, together with interest on that amount from the date of death, and one half of anything that remains. Your children will receive the other half of anything that remains. If any of your children die before you then their share will pass to their children (if they have any).

      To demonstrate this, let's look at an example. Say your estate is worth £500,000, your spouse/civil partner would inherit £385,000 (this is the first £270,000, plus half of whats left, which is £115,000). And your children would inherit the other half of what's left - £115,000.

      If you don't have children, your spouse/civil partner will inherit everything. In this example that would be £500,000.

    • No

      Continue to next step

  • Do you have children?

    • Yes

      Your estate is shared equally between your children. If any of them pass away before you, then their share will pass to their children.

    • No

      Continue to next step

  • Are your parents still alive?

    • Yes

      Your estate is shared equally between your parents.

    • No

      Continue to next step

  • Do you have any brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces living?

    • Yes

      Your estate is shared equally between your brothers and sisters. If any have passed away then their share will pass equally to their children (if they have any).

    • No

      Continue to next step

  • Are your grandparents still alive?

    • Yes

      Your estate is shared equally between your grandparents.

    • No

      Continue to next step

  • Do you have any aunts or uncles?

    • Yes

      Your estate is shared equally between your aunts and uncles. If they have already passed away, cousins take their place in the distribution.

    • No

      Crown takes all

Please note:

  • This flow-chart applies only to people living in England or Wales at the time of death. It is intended as a brief guide, not a definitive summary of Intestacy law. For example, it does not cover half-blood relationships. It is based on our understanding of the law at May 2020.
  • Members of younger generations are entitled to inherit their parent’s share if the parent has already passed away.
  • The term ‘children’ includes illegitimate and adopted children but not step-children (unless legally adopted).
  • 'Personal possessions’ is defined by law and means tangible moveable property not consisting of money, business assets or investments.
  • Joint property generally passes to the surviving joint holder, independently of the intestacy rules, but this is not always the case.
  • If your spouse/civil partner dies either before or within 28 days of you then your answer to the first question should be ‘no’.
  • You remain married/in a civil partnership until decree absolute is granted.

Write a Will

We can help you arrange a Will that's tailored to your personal circumstances.

Call us

Mon-Thurs
8am - 8pm
Fri
8am - 5:30pm
Sat
9am - 12pm

Find out more

Skipton Will Referral Service is provided by Skipton Trustees Limited, registered office: The Bailey, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1DN, registered in England no. 6258324, and administered by Redstone Wills Limited, Windmill Road, St Leonards-on-sea, East Sussex, TN38 9BY. Company no. 3673190. Skipton Building Society and Redstone Wills Limited are both members of The Society Of Will Writers and they both abide by their Code of Practice, copies of which can be found on the Society of Will Writers website or by writing to them at Chancery House, Whisby Way, Lincoln, LN6 3LQ. Please note that the Wills Referral Service is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Version Info: