Skip to main content

If an individual passes away without a will, their estate must be distributed in accordance with intestacy laws. These laws mandate that all eligible beneficiaries receive a proportional share known as their “fractional entitlement.” Our firm provides an estate distribution schedule to guarantee that each beneficiary receives their fair portion. We also offer Solicitors and other professionals guidance on estate distribution.

Laws of intestacy

Though distributing assets in cases of intestacy should be straightforward, it is surprising how frequently people miscalculate fractional entitlements. An all-too-common error occurs when administrators properly identify the correct beneficiaries in a family tree on both maternal and paternal lines, only to then allocate the estate 50/50 between them. In reality, if there are no closer family, all full-blood uncles and aunts are entitled to an equal share of the estate. In turn the children of these full blood uncles/ aunts inherit from their deceased parents share. As an example, lets say there are 2 deceased uncles whose lines are each entitled to 50% of the estate. One uncle has 2 children and the other has one child, these children would not all get a equal share. The line with 2 children, each would each get 25% of the estate (splitting their fathers 50%) and the line with just one child would get 50% of the estate. That is because that line does not need to be split or shared among any one else.
Please see our article to learn more about the laws of intestacy.

Can a manor inherit from an estate?

Any persons below 18 years of age, cannot be given their inheritance directly until they reach the age of 18. In case independent trustees are not appointed in the will, the Executors/Administrators must hold the gifts made to the minor on trust until the beneficiary reaches the specified age mentioned in the will (minimum 18). If the beneficiary receives the gift before attaining the mentioned age, the Executors/Administrators could be held personally liable, especially if any untoward incident happens to the beneficiary before they reach the designated age.

Distributing a case too early

It is understandable for an Executor/Administrator to desire swift and effective management of the estate distribution process, especially when beneficiaries are eager to acquire their inheritance. Nonetheless, an early estate distribution may expose Executors/Administrators to personal liability.
Beneficiaries who seek redress under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 have a six-month window, starting from the date of the Grant of Probate/Grant of Letters of Administration, to bring a claim. For prudent operation, it is advisable to refrain from distribution for six months from the Grant date.

When a beneficiary cannot be located and other complex cases

Wills can contain convoluted and cumbersome clauses that may pose challenges in comprehension. This is especially true when determining the appropriate recipient for a share of the estate that was meant for a beneficiary who has already passed away. It can be daunting to discern whether the share should go to another individual such as the beneficiary’s children, or if it should be distributed amongst the remaining beneficiaries. In the event of an error in distribution, the Executor/Administrator could be held personally accountable.
The most intricate scenario is when a beneficiary cannot be located. This is not uncommon, particularly in cases where a will is absent, and the family is extensive. In such situations, it is the responsibility of the Executors/Administrators to carry out the necessary investigation to track down relevant information on the beneficiary’s whereabouts.
Engaging the services of competent legal experts from the outset can save you from encountering these hurdles and the consequent risks.

Leave a Reply