Inheritance Law Shake Up

The biggest legislative change to law governing Intestacy and Family Provision came into effect this month which aims to simplify what happens when somebody dies without a will.

What is meant by Intestacy?

The Intestacy laws apply where someone dies without leaving a valid Will. Where this happens the laws of England and Wales govern how the deceased’s assets are to be distributed. Previously, the laws have been deemed unnecessary and complex but the recent reform is said to better suit modern society’s family arrangements.

Main changes to the Law

Among the changes, which are outlined in the new Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act, new rules state that, when someone who has no children dies intestate, their whole estate will pass to their spouse irrespective of the value.

Where there are children involved, the surviving spouse or civil partner will take the first £250,000 (this is referred to as the statutory legacy) and also one half of the remainder of the monies from the deceased’s estate. The children will share between themselves the remaining half upon attaining the age of 18.

What is important to understand is that the above changes have not altered the rules for unmarried couples and it remains the case that the only way to ensure your unmarried partner benefits from your estate is to make a Will.

Of course while the above very briefly highlights the changes which have recently come into force dealing with an estate where the deceased died intestate can be quite complex. You should also consider a trust to ensure those who matter most are looked after when you are gone.

For further information or for guidance on making a Will, please contact our experienced private client solicitors. Contacts at each of our offices are below

Martin Heyes and Tony Wilde at our Accrington Office on 01254 236221

  • Wendy Scott at our Bacup Office on 01706 874487
  • Sue Mackintosh at our Bury Office on 0161 761 4611
  • Peter Barnes and Holly Gethin at our Great Harwood Office on 01254 884253
  • David Buskey and Stephen Parr at our Haslingden Office on 01706 213356
  • Kathy Giddings at our Rawtenstall Office on 01706 225621