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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Deceased persons: intestacy: Northern Ireland - surviving spouse or civil partner

The rules of intestacy govern what happens to an estate if someone dies without leaving a valid will. The estate would be divided according to a fixed set of rules which could be contrary to the intentions of the deceased.

If the deceased was married (or in a civil partnership), and irrespective of the estate value, there are no children, parents, brothers and sisters, the spouse gets everything.

For an estate worth more than £250,000 where there are children, the spouse or civil partner would receive:

  • Household contents and personal effects (“the personal chattels”)
  • First £250,000 (a fixed sum see (a) of TSEM7866),  free of inheritance tax and costs, with interest from the date of death (at a rate of six per cent per annum from the date of death)
  • Half of the balance of the estate
  • Other half shared with children
    • If one child, half the remainder or
    • If more than one child, one third of the remainder, children get the rest.

If there is no children but living parents, the spouse/civil partner receives

  • Household contents and personal effects (“the personal chattels”)
  • First £450,000 ( a fixed sum see (b) of TSEM7866), 
  • Half of the balance of the estate
  • Other half shared between parents

If there are no children or living parents but brothers and/or sisters, the spouse/civil partner receives

  • Household contents and personal effects (“the personal chattels”)
  • First £450,000 (a fixed sum see (b) of TSEM7866)
  • Half of the balance of the estate
  • Other half shared between brothers and sisters.