Intestacy Rules reminder

We thought we would follow up on an earlier article as a reminder of the Intestacy Rules. The example we give below highlights how important it is to put in place a Will.


By way of an example, husband dies leaving a wife and two children under 18. He owns a house in his own name worth £375,000 and has savings worth £100,000.  The mortgage on the house is covered by an insurance policy and so the total estate is £475,000.  He had been thinking about making a Will and had expressed the wish that the whole of his estate should pass to his wife but if she had died before him, a trust for the children with capital passing to them at age 30.  Unfortunately, he never got around to doing a Will and on his death the Intestacy Rules were applied:


  1. The wife gets a legacy of £250,000 which is less than the value of the house. She also gets the contents of the house and any car which her husband owned.
  2. What is left is divided in half. The wife gets one half.
  3. The other half will be held for the benefit of the children on what is called statutory trusts until they reach 18.


On the figures given in the example, the wife does not get the whole of the value of the house. This is all very different to what the husband intended – namely that everything went to his wife.  He was also thinking of putting the house into joint names with his wife, but did not get around to doing it.  Had he done so, this would have made life easier for the wife as his widow.


If you would like advice on putting in place a Will or on how to hold your property in joint names, contact Michael Catchpole or Tamasine Hankey at Catchpole Law.