• April 21, 2024
 Order of Priority – Rules of Intestacy

Order of Priority – Rules of Intestacy

The rules of intestacy are a pre-defined order of who is entitled to inherit when someone dies intestate and are something we as a probate genealogy firm constantly receive queries about.

As a reminder, only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy. There are only eight specific classes of beneficiary.

As outlined in the slider document, the order of entitlement is as follows:

1️⃣        Married couples and Civil partners
2️⃣        Children
3️⃣        Parents
4️⃣        Siblings of whole blood (or their children)
5️⃣        Siblings of half-blood (or their children)
6️⃣        Grandparents
7️⃣        Uncles or aunts of whole blood (or their children)
8️⃣        Uncles or aunts of half-blood (or their children)

Back in July 2023, the Statutory Legacy amount – relevant when an individual passes away intestate leaving behind a spouse or civil partner AND any children – increased.

This now means that the surviving spouse or partner is entitled to receive the first £322,000 of assets with the remainder of the estate divided in half – one half to go to the surviving spouse or civil partner, with the other half to be divided equally between any children.

The rules of intestacy will celebrate their 100th birthday next year and are thus not that aligned with the more modern family dynamics we see today such as cohabitation and “blended families”. In addition, whilst fully adopted children are recognised, foster children and stepchildren are not.

Perhaps most infamously, couples living together who are not married or in a civil partnership – often referred to as “Common law spouses” – are not recognised by the rules. This could turn out to be particularly troublesome, given that the cohabiting couple is the fastest-growing living arrangement in England and Wales.

Also covered by the rules are cases of partial intestacy, where a valid will is in place but does not deal with all of the deceased’s estate.

We would be happy to assist with any queries on this topic, just get in touch – please call us on 01473 350 350 or email our dedicated legal firm query mailbox, monitored by our specialist team, at legal@angliaresearch.co.uk

Anglia Research is an award-winning probate genealogy and people tracing firm offering a range of services that assist probate practitioners throughout the estate administration process, such as:

  • Finding missing beneficiaries named in a will
  • Locating legally entitled relatives in intestacy cases
  • Family tree verification & estate distribution guidance
  • Providing fixed-cost international bankruptcy searches
  • Undertaking financial asset and liability checks in the UK
  • Accessing missing beneficiary indemnity insurance quotes

We also offer additional support around Statutory Will research services for Court of Protection teams and tracing owners of empty properties and absent landlords.

Anglia Research Services


Now in our sixth decade, we are a full-service probate genealogy firm, supporting probate practitioners with the estate administration process. We believe that it is our staff that sets up apart; we employ more accredited genealogists, legally qualified and independently regulated staff than any other UK probate research firm. The calibre of our team means that we find relatives fast and, crucially, we do not cut corners. Our dedicated team of genealogists liaise with a global network of agents to connect with missing beneficiaries, lost or unknown heirs, and the rightful owners of unclaimed assets. Established in 1979, Anglia Research has traced thousands of missing heirs in the UK and around the world. Founder Peter Turvey is an active member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), which is the only provider of genealogical accreditation in England and Wales and where knowledge and professionalism are required and tested. Our industry-leading services have been featured on popular TV programmes, including the BBC’s "Who Do You Think You Are?" and "A House Through Time". The firm is headquartered in Ipswich, Suffolk with further offices in the UK and throughout the world. Key Services: Main Contact Details: Key Contact