Does Next of Kin Automatically Inherit?
The death of a loved one can be a difficult time for family and friends. During this time, many questions arise about the deceased’s estate and who will inherit it. One of the most common questions is whether or not next of kin automatically inherit. The answer to this question depends on the circumstances.
In the UK, if a person dies without leaving a will, the law states that their estate will be divided according to the rules of intestacy. Under these rules, the first in line to inherit the estate is the surviving married or civil partner of the deceased. If there is no surviving partner, the children of the deceased will inherit the whole estate. This applies regardless of the size of the estate. If there are two or more children, the estate will be divided equally between them.
In the case of unmarried partners, the law does not automatically recognise them as next of kin. This means that if the deceased did not leave a will, their estate will not be passed on to their partner. Instead, the estate will be divided between the deceased’s children or other relatives, depending on the circumstances.
It is important to note that if the deceased did leave a will, the terms of the will will take precedence over the rules of intestacy. This means that the deceased’s wishes will be respected and their estate will be distributed according to the instructions in the will.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that next of kin do not automatically inherit the estate of a deceased person. If the deceased did not leave a will, the rules of intestacy will determine who inherits the estate. If the deceased did leave a will, the terms of the will will take precedence over the rules of intestacy. In either case, it is important to seek legal advice to ensure that the estate is distributed according to the wishes of the deceased.