Unlike the provisions surrounding marriage/a spouse, a child does not have any specific right to a share of their deceased parent’s inheritance depending on whether or not a will has been drafted.
In the case that there is a will
If the deceased parent has made a valid will, then a child does not have an absolute right to inherit their parent’s estate. However, if a child believes that they have not been appropriately provided for once a parent dies, then they may make an application to the court under section 117 of the Succession Act 1995. The court must then determine if the parent has “failed in their moral duty to make proper provision for the child in accordance with their means”, with each case being considered on its own merits.
The child does not have to be a dependent nor a minor to make such an application to the court.
In the case that there is no will
This is known as having died ‘intestate’. In the case that a parent has died without leaving a valid will but is survived by both a spouse/civil partner and children, the former is entitled to two-thirds of the estate, while the latter will be entitled to one-third of the remainder.
In instances where the deceased parent is survived by their children but no spouse/civil partner, the children are entitled to the entirety of the estate to be divided equally among them.
Does the civil status of a child’s parents affect their inheritance rights?
Rules around inheritance rights differ depending on the circumstances of the child’s parent’s civil status upon their death. Children of the deceased, both minors and adults, are entitled to the entire estate to be divided among them if:
- There is no will
- The will is deemed to be invalid
- If the deceased parent is not in a civil partnership
- OR if their civil partner has already passed
Should I contact a solicitor?
Legal issues pertaining to wills, and in particular the rights of children with regards to inheritance, can be a complex area of the law. It is strongly recommended that if you are at all concerned or have questions about the content of deceased parent’s will that you contact an experienced and professional solicitor for further advice and information.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*