A valid Will allows for the testator to apply their assets between any beneficiaries they may have chosen. The rules of intestacy kick in when the deceased has not left a valid Will. In cases such as these, the intestacy rules apply. The intestacy rules are outlined in the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and the Intestates Estates Act 1952.
Intestacy rules are largely inflexible and traditional nature and only consider a narrow group of who might inherit.

The hierarchy of the intestacy rules

The intestacy rules set out a hierarchy on who will inherit from the estate.

  • People who are married or in a civil partnerships
  • Children and grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles and Aunts

The first in line are married couples or civil partners. Under the current law, a person in a marriage or a civil partnership will receive the whole estate as long as they do not have any children.

If there are children then the spouse or civil partner will receive the first £270,000, personal possessions and one-half of the net estate.

The children will then inherit the other half of the net sale.

The problems that can result from the intestacy rules

One of the main problems with the intestacy rules is that they are rigid and will not take into account the relationships that the deceased had with the potential beneficiaries.

For example, a long-lasting unmarried relationship will be ignored by the intestacy rules. In addition, other people who may have meant a lot to the deceased such as carers, friends and relations via marriage will also not be considered under the intestacy rules.

Therefore, under intestacy rules anyone not related by blood or a spouse may not get any inheritance even if it may have been the deceased wish that they did.

Furthermore, the cost of not leaving a Will can be more expensive than creating one because of any disputes that may arise and the cost of tracking down all the potential beneficiaries, especially in cases where there are large spread out families.

The advantages of creating a valid Will

One of the advantages of creating a valid Will is that you can pinpoint exactly what people and organisations you might want to leave your inheritance to. Therefore, this includes potential beneficiaries that may fall outside of the immediate family such as friends or charities.

In addition, a valid Will can help to avoid any disputes after the person’s death and add any further stress and complexity to a time that is already difficult for the family.

In a valid Will, you can outline any funeral arrangements that you may want included. For example the choice between a burial or cremation and a religious or non-religious ceremony.

Finally, the process will in all likelihood be far quicker with a valid Will because there will usually be no need to go through a court process. Therefore, the beneficiaries will usually receive the money faster.

How can Hubbard Pegman & Whitney help?

Hubbard Pegman & Whitney Probate department can help guide you through the process of making a Will, ensuring all your assets are accounted for and any wishes of your loved ones considered. Furthermore, we can assist with lodging your Will with the probate registry, so it can be easily accessed by your executors when required.

Another service that the Probate department at Hubbard Pegman & Whitney provides is the creation of a Lasting Power of Attorney (also referred to as an LPA). LPA’s are split into two types. One is for financial decisions and the other is for health and welfare. An LPA is a legal document where the donor appoints one or more attorneys and gives them the right to make decisions on their behalf. Having an LPA can ensure that your affairs can be managed effectively and securely even if you ever lose the capacity to make important decisions for yourself.

If you would like to discuss these important matter further with one of our experienced Solicitors within our Probate department whereby we will advised you if we can assist you with your needs and tell you what you will need to do to start the process then give one of probate solicitors a call on 02089 735 9790 or email


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