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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Succession: Intestacy: Distributions under intestacy (Scotland): children

Subject to the rights of the surviving spouse or civil partner (IHTM11032) (IHTM12151) the children and grandchildren take absolutely in the following order:

  • the deceased’s children living at the death equally
  • the grandchildren living at the death whose parent would have taken a share but for dying before the intestate, equal shares of their parent’s share.


Mary died intestate in 2008. Her husband John had died before her in 2005. During her life Mary had three children - Jack, Joseph and Jessica. Jack died before Mary, leaving two children - Robert and Rosie.

Joseph and Jessica will each be entitled to a third share of Mary’s estate. The remaining third that would have passed to Jack if he had survived will now pass to his children, Rosie and Robert, who will receive a sixth of the estate each.

You should note that:

  • Money received by children (but not grandchildren) before death by way of advances or on marriage may need to be taken into account. You should refer any cases where this is applies to Technical.
  • Adopted children have the same rights as natural children.
  • Illegitimate children have the same rights as legitimate children.