20 January 2020 | Comment | Article by Ceri Webster

Increase to spousal/civil partner legacy in intestate estates

If you die without leaving a will, your estate will be dealt with under the rules of intestacy  If you have a partner, they will not be entitled to inherit at all under the rules of intestacy unless you are married or in a civil partnership.

If you have no children, your spouse/civil partner will inherit your entire estate.

If you have children and your estate is intestate then, under the current intestacy rules, your spouse/civil partner would be entitled to a statutory legacy of £250,000 plus 50% of the estate above this sum, with the remaining 50% being split equally amongst your children.

From the 6 February 2020, the statutory legacy amount your spouse/civil partner is entitled to inherit will increase from £250,000 to £270,000. They will still be entitled to 50% of the estate above this sum, with the remaining 50% being split equally amongst your children.

The statutory legacy sum is kept under review to take into account inflation. There is a minimum period of 5 years between reviews. The increase of £20,000 therefore reflects inflation since the last review in October 2014.

It must be stressed that relying on the rules of intestacy in place of making a will is very ill-advised.

In many cases the family home is the largest asset and the rules could potentially leave your spouse sharing ownership with your children which may, in some families, cause complications.

Also if your estate is valued at less than £270,000 then your children would not be provided for at all.

If you do not have a will in place, you could also be missing out on the benefits of estate and tax planning which would be used to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones. 

If you'd like to find out more about our will writing service, visit our wills page here.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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