Under current legislation should someone pass away without making a Will then they are known to have died intestate. This means their assets will be distributed as per the Intestacy Rules. Currently, the rules state that the spouse of the deceased shall inherit the first £250,000 and for the remainder of the estate to be divided between the deceased’s children.
On 6th February 2020 the Government increased the amount a surviving spouse or civil partner will receive under the intestacy rules from £250,000 to £270,000. This is called the statutory legacy which is applied under the intestacy rules. The intestacy rules are complicated and distribute assets in an estate according to who survivors the person who has died. The rules, when applied can result in people benefiting from your estate that you might not want to, some people may miss out entirely or inheritance tax becomes payable. However, many people are unaware that only a spouse has the right to make a claim under the Intestacy Rules and unmarried partners, cohabitees, stepchildren and close friends are not provided for under the current law. Creating a valid Will ensures your estate will be inherited by the people that you want to benefit.
The best way to ensure your wishes are followed is to make a will. If you already have a will, it is always good to review this periodically and particularly if you have had any changes in your circumstances. In order to make a valid Will, please contact our Probate department who will be happy to assist.