Children’s rights to inheritance

Inheritance law a foreign has several characteristic nuances and provisions. As you know, in the countries of the English legal system, the main source of regulation is judicial precedent and law, which fully applies to the field of hereditary relations. That is why you should find out in advance: who has the right to inheritance and how the inheritance procedure takes place in England.

Children’s inheritance and inheritance rights of spouses in the UK

Spousal inheritance rights, as well as inheritance rights by other relatives in England, are enshrined in several legislative sources:

  • Wills Act;
  • Administration Inheritance Act;
  • Inheritance Act;
  • Inheritance of persons who have left no will Act.

The basis for the emergence of inheritance can be a will or the law drawn up by the will-executor. The transfer of property takes place only when the deceased has not made a notarized disposition, so in England the priority of inheritance under the testament is actively practiced. The document is recognized as valid subject to several rules: the testament was left by a capable person over 18 years of age. In this case, both will-executor himself and a third person can write the text. A testament must be drawn up with the participation of several witnesses and be certified by an authorized person, that is, a notary or a lawyer.

the testament

Interested persons cannot act as witnesses, namely: they should not be mentioned in the testament and claim any share of the inheritance.

In addition, the will must choose the will-executor, otherwise the court will appoint a personal representative. It should be borne in mind that in the countries of the English legal system there is no universal hereditary succession, so all movable and immovable assets first pass to the will-executor, and only after that it is distributed among the heirs. However, before these successors must pay a mandatory tax and other mandatory expenses.

Inheritance rights of grandchildren in the UK, as well as other relatives

Often people are interested in whether stepchildren and other relatives have the rights of inheritance in the UK? When carrying out inheritance, English law prioritizes the spouse over other heirs. If by the time of the procedure the second spouse is not alive, then the property is distributed among 7 groups of relatives in a certain order.

Inheritance rights of adopted children and other family members:

  1. Children.
  2. Parents.
  3. Full siblings of the testator.
  4. Half-siblings of the testator.
  5. Grandparents.
  6. Full aunts and uncles.
  7. Incomplete aunts and uncles.

In England, there is no principle of a mandatory share of inheritance and any other restrictions, so the testament-maker has the right to independently distribute all assets. Thanks to this, the right of grandchildren to inheritance after the death of parents, as well as any other relatives, becomes clear.


According to the law, the testator has the right to completely exclude children from the testament, as well as other relatives. Such a document will be considered valid and not subject to challenge from third parties. The only thing that a child can do in this situation is to question the mental abilities of the will-executor at the time of drawing up the order. Nevertheless, the court will require the provision of strong medical certificates or evidence from third parties that the testator was severely psychologically or physically influenced. Challenging testaments in court is rarely successful and in England is the prerogative of wealthy individuals.

Do stepchildren have inheritance rights in the UK and Inheritance rights for an illegitimate child in the UK?

As noted earlier, the first person in the inheritance is the surviving spouse. The inheritance rights of spouses are indisputable and enshrined at the state level. Next in line will be the children of the deceased, who will divide the inheritance between themselves in excess of 250 000£. These are the only persons who have inheritance rights without a formal testament. However, there are exceptions that allow the transfer of property to other family members and relatives:

  • If the testator did not have a surviving spouse and children, all assets shall be distributed among grandchildren, great-grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts. Thus, the right to inherit grandchildren has a fairly strong prerogative in the legal system of England.
  • If all of the above relatives are dead, the condition of the deceased will pass to nephews and nieces or grandparents.
  • Stepchildren and stepdaughters have the right to inheritance only if they have been officially adopted.
  • Children born out of wedlock shall receive property only if there is established paternity.


Persons who do not have the right to inherit: unmarried partners, friends, an educator, acquaintances etc. If the testator does not have living relatives, all his assets will go to England.

It should be understood that the legal system does not provide for the obligation to accept any inheritance, so the successor has the right to give up the property both in full and in part. In addition, the heir may conclude an additional agreement on another disposal of assets.

Inheritance rights

The will-executor has the right to change the text of the testament in case of certain life changes, including:

  • the birth of a child;
  • marriage;
  • divorce;
  • adoption of a child;
  • relocation;
  • death of the will-executor etc.

To make edits, you must contact a qualified specialist. The lawyer will prepare a special document used to make the following changes: the code, which must subsequently be signed and certified.


In the English legal system, the issue of parent-child relations is essential to the inheritance procedure. That is why the right to inherit adopted and other children is a separate area of practice. It should be noted that legally legitimate daughters and sons in England are considered to be:

  1. Born in an invalid marriage.
  2. Born in a marriage concluded after the conception of a child, but before its birth.
  3. Born as a result of artificial insemination etc.

In this regard, each case of inheritance in England is considered on a case-by-case basis. Today, inheritance rights can be proved by many methods, in addition to the entry of the blood father into an official marriage with the mother. The court takes into account not only the medical confirmation of the ties, but also the existence of actual family relations, expressed in parental care for the child on the part of the testator.

A child’s right to inheritance is a complex industry. That is why in most cases the British make testaments during their lifetime, turn to lawyers and notaries. In this case, they minimize the risk of any claims from third parties during the inheritance and have the opportunity to distribute assets at their own discretion.

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