New Intestacy Rules come into force on 6 February 2020

30 Jan 2020

When someone dies, they hope their loved ones will be taken care of, not only emotionally, but financially as well. With a Will you can choose who you leave your assets to but, what happens if you pass away with out a Will?

If you pass away without a Will, the rules of intestacy come into play and set family members will inherit. If you die with no children but have a spouse or civil partner then the spouse or civil partner inherits everything. If however you have children then the spouse or civil partner currently receives £250,000 and the remainder is divided so that 50% passes to the spouse and the other 50% to the children on reaching 18. Personal possessions also pass to the spouse.

A change takes place on 6 February 2020, the fixed sum of £250,000 increases to £270,000. But, is that enough for the spouse or civil partner?

In the south, houses are often valued very highly. If you die with a house worth £600,000 and a small amount of cash then your spouse or civil partner will not receive the whole house. You might think, that’s okay, your children won’t throw their surviving parent out, but what if the children are from a previous relationship? If on the other hand, you own your house jointly with your spouse then it may pass automatically to them. There are two types of joint ownership – joint tenants and tenants in common. If you own a house with someone as joint tenants, it will pass automatically to the surviving owner.

It is clear that the intestacy rules may not benefit the people you wish to benefit and that is before you even consider what happens if you and your partner are not married. Under the intestacy rules, nothing happens – your partner receives nothing!

Despite the £20,000 increase in the legacy to your spouse or civil partner, the intestacy rules are unlikely to reflect your wishes. This is why it is so important to make a Will.

To find out more, please contact our estate planning experts on 0800 2800 421 or contact us here.

Author

Mihiri Gajraj

Partner