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We understand the difficulties you face following the loss of a loved one, and we know that dealing with a legal process isn’t what you would like to deal with at a time like this.

Here at DMA Law, we want to help you and give you the professional advice, with all of the empathy and support, that you need in such situations.

Sorting out an estate can be a slow and tricky process when there isn’t a will. While every situation is different, professional advice from a solicitor will be needed if there is no will in place.

If someone passes away without a will they are said to have passed away ‘intestate’. When this happens, the law sets out some rules – the rules of intestacy – that deal with the deceased’s affairs.

According to the rules of intestacy, the law will decide who inherits what. Below we will go through some of these rules to help you understand who can and who cannot inherit when there is no will.

Who can inherit?

Married or civil partners

Only married or civil partners and close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy. Married partners or civil partners have to be married at the time of death to inherit.

If there are children or grandchildren and the estate is valued more than £250.00 then the parent will inherit all the personal property and belongings of the deceased, the first £250.000 of the estate and half of the remaining estate.

If there are no children the partner will inherit all personal properties and belongings of the person who passed away, including the whole estate with interest from the date of death.


All children, including children from different relationships or children whose parents are not married, can inherit. Children will receive their inheritance once they reach the age of 18 or if they marry or form a civil partnership.

Children will inherit if there is no surviving partner and the estate between two or more children will be equally divided.

The rules are different if there is a surviving partner, then children will only inherit if the estate is valued more than £250.000 and if there are two or more children they will inherit the estate in equal shares.


Grandchildren can inherit from the estate of an intestate person only if their parents or grandparents passed away before the intestate person or if their parent dies before they reached the age of 18 without having married or formed a civil partnership.

Close relatives

Other close relatives such brothers and sisters can inherit under the rules of intestacy but this will depend on whether there is a surviving partner, children, grandchildren or whether the relative is directly related to the person who has passed away.

Who cannot inherit if there is no will?

Under the rules of intestacy the following people are not able to inherit:

  • Close friends
  • Unmarried partners or partners not in a civil relationship
  • Carers


If you have any questions or feel like you need help please get in touch and let us explain how we can help you. We are happy to arrange a free consultation or have a chat over the phone.