Intestacy in 2003

Intestacy – Dying without a valid Last Will

My father died in 2003 left no will and with the family house in his sole name, valued at £160,000, which my mother still lives in. The rules of intestacy were briefly explained when my fathers affairs were sorted out, although never formally recorded.

Updated page. (see also the Rules of Intestacy)

The family home is now in my mothers’ name (after probate) and my mother now wishes to sell the house, will not be buying another property and therefore wishes to settle my brother and I of the amount we may be entitled to under the intestacy rules. Am I right in thinking that my brother and I are entitled to share the balance of the original house valuation £160,000 less the £125,000 that my mother is entitled to keep.

Intestacy – probate answer

Technically, assuming the total value of your dads’ estate in 2003 was £160,000 and assuming it was just the house, the following calculations would have applied at the time.  Being in percentage terms, the same would apply now at the current valuation.  However, it might be argued that you have given your shares to your mother by default, should anyone be disposed to argue!

  • Your mother would own 125/160 = 78.125 percent of the house absolutely plus
  • she would have a life interest in half of the remainder i.e. 10.9375% and
  • each of the two brothers would have been entitled to 5.46875% then plus
  • a further identical amount you would own the capital of, but your mother would be entitled to the interest until she dies.

In effect, this keeps the proportions the same, although it should really have been recorded on the title deeds at the time, and as a result, you may lose your inheritance to Community Care Tax (i.e. Care Fees).

You should also make sure your mother has an up to date Will, and both types of Lasting Power of Attorney ( . It may be too late to protect her assets if she needs to go into a care home, but (if it is not too late) you could consider the which not only saves money on probate fees but may offer protection against care fees, depending on your mothers’ health.