After someone dies, their Will sets out what they would like to happen to their assets and who they would like to inherit. If they have not left a Will, they are said to be intestate. Sometimes, a Will does not deal with all of a person’s assets or a beneficiary of a certain gift may have died. In this event, the estate may be partially intestate.
How does partial intestacy arise?
Unforeseen events may cause someone’s estate to be partially intestate or it may be that they have accumulated assets that are simply not included in their Will.
Partial intestacy means that some of the estate is left to beneficiaries in a Will, but some of it is not and is without a named heir.
This can happen if the deceased named a beneficiary who has since died. It may also be the case that the deceased did not adequately dispose of all of their assets in their Will. For example, their Will may deal with assets in the UK but not assets held offshore, such as in the Isle of Man.
A Will that does not include everything that the deceased owned, such as a homemade Will that says, ‘I give all my money to my wife’ will also cause partial intestacy.
This would mean that assets not referred to in the Will are intestate and will pass under the Rules of Intestacy. The part of the estate that is included in the Will can be dealt with in the normal way.
The Rules of Intestacy
The Rules of Intestacy list those who are entitled to inherit in a set order, starting with any spouse or civil partner. They will receive all of the deceased’s personal possessions if these are not otherwise disposed of in the Will. If the deceased does not have any children, then the spouse or civil partner is entitled to inherit all of the intestate part of the estate.
Where the deceased also had children, the spouse will receive the first £250,000 of the intestate part of the estate plus half of the remainder. The children will share the other half equally between them.
If the deceased did not have either a spouse or children, then other relatives are entitled to inherit, in order of preference, starting with parents, then siblings followed by half-siblings.
Potential difficulties arising as a result of partial intestacy
It may be difficult to identify who is entitled to inherit where beneficiaries have not been named in a Will and problems can arise if someone is omitted who was entitled to inherit. They may be entitled to bring a claim against the administrator, who could face personal liability.
Intestacy can also cause disagreements between family members, who may have opinions about what they believe the deceased would have wanted to happen.
The best way to avoid partial intestacy is to ensure you have a valid Will in place that was drafted by a legal expert and to review your Will regularly. If you hold assets in the Isle of Man, it is important to ensure that these are included in your Will.
It is also advisable to review your Will in the light of any major life changes, such as inheriting money, to ensure that your wishes are still the same and that all of your assets are fully disposed of.
Contact Our Isle of Man Wills And Probate Team
Our Isle of Man Wills and probate lawyers can ensure you have made adequate provision in your Will for all of your assets or assist you if you are dealing with someone’s estate after their death.
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Patrick is the Head of Wills & Administration at Quinn Legal
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