'You can't take it with you when you die': wealth, intestacy rules and inheritance tax

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


Increasing numbers of people in the UK are leaving bequests of financial value when they die. This chapter reviews the scale of inheritance and the policies around UK intestacy rules and inheritance tax. Three main issues are highlighted. First, there are stark wealth inequalities between one half of the population who currently leave nothing of any financial value when they die and one in twenty who leave more than half a million pounds. Second, the 'laws of succession', which govern who benefits from an estate if there is no will, do not recognise cohabitation despite the increase in cohabitation among older people. Third, very few estates pay inheritance tax which remains a very unpopular tax despite the many economic and philosophical arguments in its favour.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeath and Social Policy in Challenging Times
EditorsKate Woodthorpe, Liam Foster
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2016