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  • Writer's pictureMaplebrook Services

Intestacy in England and Wales

What is Intestacy?

A Will is a document which sets out the deceased’s wishes. When the deceased person does not leave a valid Will, the estate is said to be ‘intestate’. That means we must deal with the estate according to the rules of intestacy.

If the Estate is Passing to a Surviving Spouse

If the estate is passing to a surviving spouse, you will be asked to provide a marriage certificate, if you have not already done so.

If the Estate is Passing to Anyone Other Than a Spouse

If the estate is to pass to anyone other than the deceased’s spouse, we will ask you to provide a family tree and we will then draft a statement of truth for you to sign confirming the beneficiaries.

If the family tree you provide is incomplete, or we identify further beneficiaries, we may need to undertake more research at an additional cost. In this case, we will contact you to discuss your options.

Who is Our Client?

Under the rules of intestacy, our client must be the closest living relative. If the family tree reveals someone with a higher ‘beneficial entitlement’, we will contact you to discuss the next steps.

Who Inherits Under an Intestate Estate?

Our intestacy flowchart (below) explains how an intestate estate will be distributed. If the estate is to be shared between children, siblings, or aunts/uncles, it will also be shared among grandchildren, nephews/nieces, and cousins whose parent has died.

For example, if the estate is split three ways among children:

Image showing how an estate could be split between children and grandchildren

Intestacy Flowchart

Our flowchart shows how the estate will be distributed under the rules of intestacy.

Flowchart showing the rules of intestacy


If you or anyone you know requires assistance with an intestate estate, or any other inheritance or legacy planning matters, please contact us on 26 600780, or send an email to Initial consultations are free with no obligations.


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