Who can inherit when there is no Will?
If someone dies without making a Will they are said to have died ‘intestate’ and the law steps in to decide who should administer their estate and also who should benefit from it. The rules that are followed are called the ‘intestacy rules’.
As the deceased has had no say in what happens to their estate, the rules of intestacy may distribute it in a way which the deceased would not have wanted. This can understandably leave their loved ones angry and upset. You may find that:
- an estranged spouse or civil partner may now inherit
- an unmarried or cohabiting partner of the deceased may not inherit
- a child of the deceased may not have been adequately provided for, or not provided for at all
- there may even be arguments over who should administer the estate
Whilst you cannot stop the intestacy rules from being followed, in certain circumstances, it may be possible to bring a claim against the estate under the Inheritance Act. Those who could bring a claim include:
- a child of the deceased
- an unmarried or cohabiting partner of the deceased
- anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased
- someone who has inherited from the estate under the intestacy rules, but feels that it is not enough to financially support them
Each case turns on its own facts, which means many considerations need to be taken into account in order to assess whether a claim has merit. There are also strict time limits in order to bring a claim, so it is important to act quickly.
If you require advice about bringing a claim under the Inheritance Act, or how to deal with a potential dispute, please contact one of the members of our contentious probate team.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*