News: the wills and inheritance changes

The new Intestacy law comes into effect 1st October, will this affect you?

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 Changes to intestacy rules – what it means for you and your loved ones

This week changes to the intestacy laws were announced by the Government in an effort to simplify current laws surrounding the inheritance process when a person dies without a will in place.  The new laws are to take effect 1 October 2014.  Our recent research found that 28.7 million of the UK adult population (57%) have not made a will, leaving no guarantee their wishes will be executed as they intended and potentially putting their families and loved ones in a vulnerable position.

What are the changes?

The new laws are set to affect both married couples and civil partners with and without children.

From 1 October, married couples or civil partners without children will now inherit the whole of their partner’s estate, in the event their partner dies intestate.  Previously, the laws stated they would have received the first £450,000 of the estate, and 50 per cent of the rest of the estate, with the remaining 50 per cent being shared between blood relatives such as parents and siblings.

In the event of intestacy, married couples or civil partners with children will now inherit the first £250,000 of their partner’s estate, and will be entitled to 50 per cent of the rest of the estate, with the ‘life-interest’ concept having been axed.  Children will then receive 50 per cent of anything over £250,000, and will be able to access their inheritance when they turn 18 years old.

A proposal has been made to change the intestacy laws surrounding unmarried couples, however these changes have not made their way into the new laws.  Unmarried couples without a will are still therefore vulnerable, as current laws state they are entitled to nothing from their partner’s estate in the event they die intestate.

You can search for a solicitor using our postcode search, and find out more about our Write and Register a Will Week here.