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Would Jon Snow inherit in modern day Britain?

Finally after 6 years, 7 seasons and 67 episodes, fans of the Game of Thrones TV series, finally received proof that Jon Snow was in fact the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

Jon Snow is the sole surviving male descendant of the Targaryen line. In the make believe world of Westoros, the line of succession follows the male line of descendants in order of birth.

Jon therefore triumphs his aunt Daenerys on the basis of gender, being the son of the son of Aerys Targaryen.

But how would he fair in modern day Britain if he was just an average man.

The rules of intestacy in the UK state the order of inheritance as:

  1. Surviving spouse or civil partner
  2. Children (birth and adopted – does not include step children)
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings (or their children)
  5. Half siblings (or their children)
  6. Grandparents
  7. Uncles and Aunts (or their children)
  8. Half uncles and aunts (or their children)
  9. The Crown

It is important to note that unmarried couples have no standing in the above order and on this count modern day Britain is still trailing behind and no better than historic Westoros.

Therefore upon his grandfather’s death, on the basis that his grandmother had predeceased, his father would have inherited in equal shares with any surviving sibling. On the basis that his aunt, Daenerys, survived both her brother, she would have inherited the whole Targaryen estate. Jon therefore would not have inherited anything (unless specifically provided for in a Will).

Could this be changed?

If, despite having the better claim to the estate, Daenerys decided that she would forgo the same, then she could enter into a Deed of Variation to effectively allow a re-distribution of the estate. This however must be done within 2 years of death.

Could this be challenged?

Could Jon Snow bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975?

The Act allows people in the following classes to make a claim against the estate for (reasonable) financial provision:

  • Spouse/civil partner
  • Former spouse/civil partner who has not remarried or enter into further civil partnership
  • Co-habiting partner (living with the deceased for at least 2 years prior to death)
  • Children (can include step children)
  • Dependants

Jon therefore would not be in a position to make a claim, as a grandchild, unless he was being maintained by his grandfather, or he had been brought up as a child of the family by his grandfather.