Inheritance in England


Succession, a fundamental element of civil law in England, governs the distribution of a deceased person's assets among his or her heirs. Whether there is a will or not, the rules of succession play a vital role in the process of passing assets from one generation to the next.


1. Succession with a Will

Drawing up a will gives the testator the essential advantage of freedom of disposition. The testator can specify his or her specific wishes regarding the distribution of his or her assets, including the designation of specific heirs, an executor and even the creation of trusts. Following death, the executor plays a central role. His or her task is to ensure that the provisions of the will are implemented in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, and the assets of the estate are then distributed in accordance with the terms of the will.


2. Succession without a Will (Succession ab Intestat)

In the absence of a will, the succession is governed by the laws of succession (Inheritance Acts of 1974 and 1975 in particular), which establish an order of priority for determining the heirs according to their relationship to the deceased. The surviving spouse generally occupies a privileged position, followed by the children and grandchildren. If the deceased leaves a surviving spouse, that person is entitled to a substantial share of the estate, with the remaining share often shared between the surviving spouse and the deceased's descendants.


In the absence of a surviving spouse, the laws of succession define an order of priority among potential heirs, such as children, parents, siblings, following a hierarchical scheme determined by the legislation.



Whether there is a will or not, inheritance in England follows precise rules designed to ensure a fair distribution of a deceased person's assets. Writing a Will provides a valuable opportunity to shape the inheritance according to one's own wishes, while the absence of a Will results in the application of the laws of succession, establishing an order of priority based on family ties.


Please contact us for any information you may require.



Etudiante en Master II Droit international, européen et comparé à Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne

Stagiaire au sein du cabinet d'avocats de Maître Sophie LARROQUE

Best wishes for 2024 !


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