Associate solicitor Patrick Brennan, in our leading Probate, Tax & Trusts team, explains the impact of imminent changes to the Intestacy Rules on spouses of those without a Will.
Changes to the Intestacy Rules are set to affect the amount that surviving spouses of those without a Will receive from an estate upon their loved one’s death.
When a person dies without a validly executed Will in place, their estate will be administered in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.
This means that a person’s wishes for who should inherit their wealth may not be taken into account. This can lead to your estate being distributed in a way you may not have wanted and leaving those who may be financially dependent on you, in a vulnerable position. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of Intestacy.
Under the Intestacy Rules, surviving spouses currently receive £250,000, the deceased's personal possessions and a 50% share of the reminder of their Estate.
From 6 February 2020, surviving spouses will receive at least the first £270,000, an increase of £20,000 intended to reflect inflation since 2014. The remainder of an estate will continue to be shared between any children or direct descendants.
The Law Society’s president, Simon Davis, has welcomed the move: “If someone dies without making a will – also known as dying intestate – the law determines how much of their estate their partner, children and other relatives will inherit. Under Intestacy Rules, if there are no children, the partner will inherit the entire estate.
This increase is very welcome but many people are unaware that under intestacy laws, unmarried partners and close friends cannot inherit.”
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This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.