The rules of intestacy explained by our probate solicitor Emsworth


If your loved one has passed away without a will, there is likely to be some confusion.

While there are some myths about what happens when a person passes away without a will, there are very strict laws governing this area that determine who inherits what, which can include previously married partners and estranged relatives if no one else can be found.

When someone passes away without leaving a will, the rules of intestacy come into play and, for some people who may have been close to the deceased, these rules can cause more than a bit of hassle and confusion.

At Andrew & Andrew, we know all there is to know about the rules of intestacy and our probate solicitor Emsworth can break them down to you in a jargon-free manner. We will also ensure that all the legal bases are covered and always aim to offer advice and support around these issues in a supportive manner to help you through this difficult time.

So, here, our probate solicitor Emsworth breaks down what the rules of intestacy are and how they can impact inheritance in the UK.

Married partners or civil partners

Of course, if you pass away without leaving a will, then your estate will pass to your spouse or civil partner.

However, if your estate is valued at £270,000 or more and you have grandchildren, then your partner will receive half of the value and the rest will be passed along to your children and grandchildren equally.

So, for instance, if your estate is valued at £280,000, then your spouse will receive £140,000 and, if you have two children, they will receive an equal split of the remaining £140,000 and so on.

If you need help understanding this or a situation like this in more detail relating to your own family, please contact our probate solicitor Emsworth for more advice.


If you have children and are not married, then all of your estates will pass on to them.

However, in the unfortunate event that your children pass away before your death, if you have grandchildren, then they will inherit your estate and it will be shared equally.

On the other hand, if your children have passed away before you and had no children, then the rules of intestacy state that the next in line are your parents or, if they are no longer living, your siblings or half-siblings.


Following on from the aforementioned example, if you have no siblings or half-siblings, then the estate will be passed to your grandparents. If you do have siblings or half-siblings who have also passed, then their children will inherit your estate equally.

If they are no longer alive, then your aunts or uncles will be the next in line to inherit your estate.

Divorce and common-law partners

If you have divorced, then your former spouse cannot inherit your estate under the laws of intestacy. However, it is worth noting that a long term, non-married partner cannot either. So, if you wish to pass on your estate to your partner without getting married to them, call our team at Andrew & Andrew for legal advice that you need.