Will I Automatically Inherit From My Parents When They Die?
Posted on 11th June 2020
In England and Wales, there’s not automatically any right for a child to inherit from their parent after they die. Although, this can really depend on whether or not the parent left a Will.
If the parent leaves a Will, no matter whether or not their child is included, their assets will be distributed in accordance with the wishes set out within. If the parent did not leave a Will, then their assets will be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy, which means that the child may inherit, depending on the value of their parent’s Estate, and whether there is anyone else who is entitled to inherit first.
If you parent has made a Will excluding you from benefiting from their Estate, you may be able to make a claim against the Estate, however, this can be a complicated area of law. If you are considering making a claim under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, you should always seek legal advice from a Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitor first.
What happens if my parent doesn’t leave a Will?
As explained briefly above, if your parent doesn’t leave a Will, their Estate will be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. Your parent will have died ‘intestate’, so their Estate will be distributed, as follows:
If your parent had a surviving spouse or civil partner, they will inherit all of your parent’s assets, up to the value of £270,000, plus all of their personal possessions. If the Estate is valued at more than this amount, the surviving spouse or partner will receive an additional 50% of anything over £270,000.
You, as the child of the deceased, would then receive the other 50% of anything over £270,000. If there is more than one child, the 50% share would be shared equally between you all.
When a parent dies without leaving a spouse or civil partner, you will inherit their whole Estate. Again, if there is more than one child, the Estate would be divided equally between you all.
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston would point out that if you had siblings who have predeceased you, leaving their own descendants (i.e. children – so your nieces or nephews – or grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc), they would be entitled to receive the share that their parent would have received, had they still been alive.
An Example of the Rules of Intestacy
Let us take an Estate worth £500,000 – a nice, easy number. We would forget inheritance tax payable, for the purposes of this example, and look at how that Estate would be distributed.
So, the first £270,000 would pass to the spouse, leaving a balance of £230,000. This £230,000 would then be divided equally between the spouse, and the child or children. The spouse would receive an additional £115,000 (half of the balance above £270,000). The remaining £115,000 would be divided equally between any children/other descendants.
If there were two surviving children, plus two grandchildren from a child who had predeceased the parent, the £115,000 share would be divided into three equal shares; one passing to each surviving child, and the other being divided equally between the two grandchildren.
It’s important to note that the Rules of Intestacy do not make provisions for stepchildren.
How do the rules apply if I am adopted?
If you are a legally adopted child, the Rules of Intestacy will apply to you in the same way as they would apply to a biological child.
For example, if your mother had two biological children and then legally adopted you, under the Rules of Intestacy, their Estate (or the share of the Estate due to the children) would be divided equally between all three of you.
However, our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston would explain that you cannot inherit from the Estate of your biological parents, if you have been adopted into another family.
Can we get legal advice about how to distribute my parent’s Estate?
Why choose MG Legal?
Our expert team have over 15 years of experience in successfully administering Estates, and our client’s feedback is excellent; you can read our reviews online, here.
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors will help to settle the Estate quickly and efficiently, whilst helping to reduce the stress that you will be feeling in an already-stressful situation.
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