Dying without a Will means that the person has died ‘Intestate’ in which case the laws of intestate govern the distribution of their estate.
This clearly complicates matters for the family or potential beneficiaries and we often see the results of failure to make a Will.
Dying ‘Intestate’ often leads to disputes, costly court intervention and a legacy of emotional damage.
With no valid Will in place, the law then dictates who is entitled to benefit from the estate. This can be a matter of some complexity however we have given a brief overview of who will inherit.
It should be borne in mind that this overview is not exhaustive and we strongly recommend that you speak to one of our specialist Executry Solicitors in Edinburgh, Bonnyrigg or Penicuik.
These are given to the spouse or civil partner. Once any debts owed by the deceased are settled the surviving spouse will inherit the residence and all furniture fixtures and fittings in the property (up to a certain value).
The spouse will also inherit a limited amount of cash and the amount will be dictated by whether or not there are any children involved. These are known as prior rights and take precedence over other claims on the estate.
These are determined after Prior Rights in Succession. A spouse or civil partner and any children are then entitled to ‘Legal Rights’ which refer to the moveable estate which is anything ‘moveable’ and include things such as money, cars or jewellery. Legal rights do not apply to land and buildings.
A surviving spouse is entitled to half of the movable estate so long as there are no children, however this reduces to one third of the movable estate if there are surviving children.
If there is any Estate left after the application of Prior Rights and Legal Rights this is subject to priority. Any surviving children are first in line, if there are no surviving children then parents and siblings will inherit the remainder of the estate. If there are no parents or siblings then the spouse will now inherit the remainder of the estate. However it is important to note that the list of priority is extensive and can go as far as sibling of grandparents and in some cases the Crown can inherit some of the estate.
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