Sadly, the intestacy rules may not allow your estate to be distributed as you may expect or wish. Your spouse may not inherit the whole of your estate.

If you die leaving a husband, wife or civil partner (“the Spouse”) and you have children your Spouse will take all your personal belongings/chattels and your spouse will receive a legacy of £250,000 from your estate.  Anything above this is divided into two.  Your Spouse gets a life interest in half – i.e the income made on half of the residue– not the half share itself.  The other half, and the surviving Spouse’s half when they die, goes to your children and, if your children die before you, to your grandchildren. This legacy is held on trust for minor beneficiaries until they attain 18 or marry under that age.

If you die leaving children or grandchildren but no Spouse, your children, or grandchildren if your children die before you leaving children, take your entire estate.

If you die leaving a Spouse and parents or siblings, your Spouse will take the personal belongings and a lump sum of £450,000, plus half of the rest of your estate.  The other half goes, in equal shares if more than one to your parents, or if both have died before you on statutory trust to your surviving brothers or sisters of the whole blood and if none to your nephews and nieces.

Your Spouse receives everything if there are no children, grandchidlren, parents, or siblings of the same parents ….. and the rules of intestacy go on benefitting remoter relatives and if nobody is eligible your estate will pass “bona vacantia” to the Crown.