English Inheritance Law

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In England, when a person dies there are two ways in which any estate the person leaves is handled. If the deceased leaves a will, it is distributed as stated. If there is no will, the deceased is intestate and other rules will apply.

Legally Married

If the deceased is legally married and leaves a spouse, the spouse will inherit everything, if the estate is worth less than £125,000.

Spouse and Children

If the deceased leaves a lawful spouse and children, the spouse will still inherit all of the estate up to the value of £125,000. Over £125,000 the spouse inherits the first £125,000 plus interest for a lifetime on the rest, but not the capital. The children receive equal distribution of the remainder.

Married but no Children

If the deceased is married, no children, but has other family, the spouse inherits the entire estate, provided it is less than £200,000. If it is over £200,000 the spouse receives the first £200,000 plus one half of the remainder. The other half of the remainder is equally distributed among the remaining close relatives.

Unmarried, no Children

If the deceased is unmarried, no children but does have family, the estate is divided equally between remaining living relatives, starting with parents, then siblings, then grandparents.

The Crown

If the deceased is unmarried with no living relatives the estate goes to the Crown.


About the Author

Jackie Michael has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites, including Autos.com and CarsDirect. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from East London University.

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  • signing a contract image by William Berry from Fotolia.com