When intestacy may be preferable?

8.45.4.L4 Updated on:4 November 2021

When would intestacy be preferable?

Under the Wills and Succession (Jersey) Law 1993, as amended by the Wills and Succession (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2010, there is the possibility that a spouse may benefit from the fact that their deceased spouse has not made a Will of movable estate when the value of the total estate is less than £30,000.

If the deceased spouse leaves a spouse and children, leaving everything in the Will to the surviving spouse, the children could legitimately challenge the Will and claim their one-third of the estate, leaving the spouse with two thirds.

If the deceased spouse had died intestate, as long as the movable estate is no more than £30,000, then the whole of the estate goes to the surviving spouse under the intestacy rules and there is no right of appeal from the children.

On an intestate estate valued at £60,000, the widow would take £45,000 and the children would take £15,000. However, if there was a Will leaving everything to the wife and the Will is reduced by a legitimate claim, £40,000 will go to the widow and £20,000 to the children.

In fact, the surviving spouse would be better off under intestacy for estates up to a value of £90,000 assuming that one of the children wishes to claim legitime.