Do I Automatically Inherit from My Parent’s When They Die?
In England and Wales, there is no automatic right for a child to inherit from their parent after they die. However, this really depends on whether there was a Will or not.
If they left a valid Will, then that dictates how assets are distributed - who inherits and how much. But if they didn’t leave a Will, then the Rules of Intestacy will apply. These dictate how the parent’s assets will be distributed. Under the Rules of Intestacy, children will only inherit if the Estate (everything they owned) is over a certain value.
If you haven’t inherited from your parent, you may be able to still make a claim against the Estate but it’s a complicated area of law. It’s best to get legal advice from a specialist Contentious Probate Solicitor so you can understand if you have a claim or not.
My Parent Didn’t Make a Will – What Happens Now?
If your parent died without making a Will, this is known as ‘dying intestate’, and the Rules of Intestacy will apply as follows:
If your parent has a surviving spouse or civil partner then they will inherit all assets, including property, up to a value of £250,000 and all personal possessions. If the Estate is worth more than £250,000, the surviving partner will also inherit half of anything above £250,000.
As a child, you will inherit the other half of anything above £250,000. If there are two or more children, the amount will be shared equally between you.
If your parent dies without leaving a surviving spouse or civil partner, then you will inherit the whole Estate. If there are two or more children, it will be divided equally amongst them. If any children have died, their children will inherit instead.
This does not include stepchildren.
What if I’m an Adopted Child?
As an adopted child, the Rules of Intestacy treat you in the same way as a biological child. Your father might have had two biological children, and adopted you. Therefore, his Estate is divided equally between all three children. As an adopted child, you can’t inherit from your biological parents.
What about Stepchildren?
Stepchildren are not included in the Rules of Intestacy.
No Provision Made?
If your parent does not include you in a Will or dies without leaving a Will or you cannot inherit under the Rules of Intestacy you may have a claim against the Estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975.
You may have a claim under the Inheritance Act if:
- You are under 18
- You were financially dependent on your parent, or it’s reasonable in all circumstances that provision should be made for your maintenance
- A stepchild was treated as a child of the family by the parent who died.
Inheritance Act claims are complex. Speak to one of our Contentious Probate Solicitors who can explain and offer guidance on whether you have a claim to inherit from your parent.
Our Solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with inheritance matters. They can identify if you have a claim and help you make it.
We always work to try and reach a fair resolution without the need of going to Court if possible.
For free initial case assessment call our Contentious Probate Solicitors
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