When a person dies without leaving a valid will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy.

If someone makes a will but it is not legally valid, the rules of intestacy decide how the estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the will.


A person, or people, present at the time the Will is signed. They must not be a beneficiary of the Will.


A legal document that states the wishes of how a person wants their assets distributing at the time of their death


The formal transfer of assets to a person or to a trust company with instructions that they hold the assets for the benefit of others.

Inheritance Tax

Inheritance Tax is a one-off tax paid on the value of your estate above a set threshold. There is an additional £175k allowance available for homeowners provided the value of the property and the circumstances meet the criteria. If these are met an estate’s threshold may increase to £500k before inheritance tax is payable.