legal insight - dying without a will

The Intestate Succession Act

In circumstances where someone dies without having made a Will or has made an invalid Will, that person will be deemed to have died “intestate” and the Succession Act 1965 will kick in and it sets out the following;

1. Who is entitled to distribute your estate (assets);
2. Who gets what;

Who can Extract the Grant?

In order to distribute the deceased’s estate, the person entitled will need to extract a Grant of Letters of Administration, this is an official authority from the Probate Office authorising that ”Administrator” to deal with and distribute the assets of the deceased’s estate. Typically, the individual entitled to be the administrator will be one or more of the nearest living relatives of the deceased.

In order to extract the Grant, a number of documents will need to be submitted to the Probate office, including a notice of application, oath, death certificate, CA24 (Inland Revenue Affidavit), Bond, and probate fees.

Who gets what?

Below is a list of the order of the individuals who are entitled to inherit and what they are entitled to;

  • Married (or civil partnership) – no children, Spouse or civil partner takes all
  • You are married with children, Spouse takes two thirds – children take one third between them
  • You are married with some children living and with some grandchildren – children of a deceased child, Spouse takes two thirds – children take one third between them with grandchildren taking their deceased’s parents share
  • You are married with no children living but with some grandchildren – children of several deceased children, Spouse takes two thirds – grandchildren take one third between them – all equal shares
  • You are single – no children – two parents survive, Parents take all – equal share
  • You are single – no children – one parent survives, Surviving parent takes all
  • You are single – no parents – no children – brothers and sisters survive, Brothers and sisters take all between them in equal shares
  • You are single – no parents – no children – brothers and sisters survive – some brothers and sisters have died leaving children, Brothers and sisters take equal shares between them with the nephews and nieces taking their deceased parents share
  • You are single – no parents – no children – no brothers and sisters survive – some brothers and sisters have died leaving children, The nephews and nieces taking the entire between them in equal shares

Is it necessary to extract a Grant?

Maybe not. It depends on the specific circumstances. If the deceased individual held property and assets jointly, then these assets may pass automatically to the surviving partner and this may negate the requirement to extract a Grant, or if the deceased individual did not have or own many assets then it may not be necessary to go through the process and expense of extracting a Grant. Contact your Solicitor for clarification.

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