Karen Yates – Associate Solicitor and Head of Private Client – explains tomorrow’s change to the Intestacy Rules and what it means for you.

The government has confirmed an increase in the amount (the statutory legacy) that a surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to receive in England and Wales where a person dies leaving children but without a valid Will (intestate).

The statutory legacy will be increased by £20,000 from £250,000 to £270,000 from 6 February 2020.

Under the intestacy rules, which apply if you die without leaving a valid Will, the estate of the deceased is distributed in a particular way. It is a common misconception that your spouse would inherit everything but that is not necessarily the case. The surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit all of your personal items, assets up to the statutory legacy amount, and half of the remainder of your estate.  The other half is divided equally between your children.

The rules are complicated, and there is a set order of who inherits.  The statutory legacy aims to protect the interests of the surviving spouse or civil partner whilst also balancing the interests of the children of the deceased, but this does not always reflect the true wishes of the deceased person.  Unfortunately, the rules do not consider modern relationships and they make no provision for cohabitees/partners (or so-called “common-law” spouses), step-children or close friends.

Instead of letting the law dictate what happens to your assets, you should make a Will.  By doing so you can decide what will happen to your assets on your death; who you want to administer your estate and you can control how/when your children will receive their inheritance.

Thinking of making a Will? Please contact Karen on 0161 832 3304.

For more information about Karen and her work, please click HERE.

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