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  • When a person dies their estate is disposed of in accordance with their will.
  • In the absence of a valid will, signed by two independent witnesses, the rules of intestacy apply to the distribution of the decease's rights and responsibilities.
  • The relatives of a tenant who dies intestate in England or Wales E/W are normally prioritised first in the hierarchy of those entitled to inherit any rights or responsibilities of the deceased.
  • A deceased person's spouse is normally the first priority then their children, then any living parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces etc and ultimately cousins and so on.
  • However, in E/W, most young unmarried student tenants are unlikely to have countenanced a will.  Should they die intestate invariably their parents are prioritised first, by statute.
  • In Scotland the parents would receive 50% with any siblings together sharing the remainder of any entitlement.
  • Other jurisdictions would vary in a similar way.
Published: 28 September 2015 Last Updated: 17 November 2021