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07 Feb 20
Who inherits my estate if I die without making a Will? 

Intestacy Rules


When a person dies without leaving a Will, the distribution of their estate is determined by the Intestacy Rules.  Danielle Jameson, of Watkins & Gunn, reports on recent changes to the Intestacy Rules, which may have a significant impact for many people.

Where a deceased leaves a spouse and surviving children, the position had been that the surviving spouse received all assets up to the sum of  up to£250,000 (known as the Statutory Legacy) , all personal possessions and half of the remaining estate . The other half of the estate is divided equally between any surviving children. However, as of 6th February 2020 this has changed as the Government have kept their promise, made in 2014, to review the level of the Statutory legacy every 5 years.  They have raised the Statutory Legacy from £250,000 to £270,000, which is intended to reflect inflation.

Although this is a welcome change to the Intestacy Rules for many spouses, it does mean that if your estate has a value of up to £270,000 it will pass in its entirety to your spouse whether you wish it to or not. The Intestacy Rules do not provide for unmarried couples, cohabitees or close friends. The change therefore highlights the importance of making a Will to reflect your wishes, and how  essential it is for unmarried couples and cohabitees if they wish to provide for each other upon their deaths. For a  Will to be valid it must be is prepared and executed correctly and  the rules governing  the validity of a Will are complex and very strict. However, by preparing a Will through expert lawyers, you can ensure that you receive the advice you need to address any issues and that your Will is validly prepared in accordance with your wishes. 

Danielle Jameson is a paralegal in the Private Client Department at Watkins and Gunn. For more information call 01495 768 935, e mail or simply text “legal will” to 67777.

This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.

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