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When a person dies, the initial reaction is an emotional and sensitive one, but unfortunately, there is also an administrative fallout. This, largely, is related to the person’s will. However, if somebody passes without leaving a valid will, then it is the rules of intestacy that dictate how their property is shared out.

The will

In the United Kingdom, you must generally be at least 18 years old to make a will. If you are a soldier or sailor on active duty, though, you can be any age. There is no set age that you definitely should make a will, but when estimates suggest 60% of people don’t have wills, you don’t want to be a member of that group whose loved ones lose out if the worst should happen.

You should update your will as circumstances change throughout your life, and ensure your will covers and protects those you care about. In the United Kingdom, wills that aren’t signed and witnessed are invalid, so if you are making one, then do it properly.

The intestate person

The intestate person is the person who dies without leaving a will. Their property will be divided up as per the rules of intestacy, and so this could mean their loved ones potentially miss out due to some strict laws which state who can and who cannot inherit.

Who cannot inherit?

No matter how close to the intestate person they were, the following cannot inherit any property when no will is left.

Unmarried partners and those not in a civil partnership are unable to inherit, as are any relations through marriage. There are many circumstances where close friends feel like family members, but if they are only friends, then by law, they too cannot inherit.

Anybody, however, is able to apply for financial provision from the estate of the intestate person, which they must do through the court.

Married and civil partners

Former married or civil partners – for example, those divorced from the intestate person – cannot inherit, but partners at the time of death can. These relations will inherit the entire estate if there are no children or grandchildren, and the entire personal property and belongings, first £270,000 and half of the remaining estate if there are.

Complications

Throughout all of the inheritance negotiations, there can, of course, be some complications. This can come in any form. However, a common problem that occurs is when the intestate person lived in a different country or had a different nationality to their relatives. Finding an excellent inheritance lawyer Spain expert will help though, if, for example, an intestate person is Spanish, and their entire family lives in England.

Close relatives

Children and grandchildren should be able to inherit any estate or assets if there is no surviving partner, or partially inheriting if there is one – but there are some other close relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy.

The inheritance of siblings, parents, nieces, and nephews will depend on whether there are any surviving partners, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. If there is not, then the amount of the estate will go to the surviving close relative, as long as they are directly related to the intestate person.