What is ‘Intestacy’? And what happens if you die with no Will?

In the event that an individual dies in England and Wales without a Will or their Will only disposes of part of their assets then their residuary estate (or the undisposed part of) will fall under the Rules of Intestacy.

The current Rules of Intestacy came into force on 1st October 2014 and under these Rules, where a deceased dies leaving a spouse but no surviving children then the residuary estate is paid to their spouse absolutely. If however, the deceased dies leaving a spouse and surviving children then their residuary estate is divided as follows:

  • The surviving spouse will keep all the assets (including property), up to £250,000.00 (known as a Statutory Legacy) and all the personal possessions.
  • The surviving spouse will also receive an absolute interest in half of the remainder of the residuary estate and,
  • The other half is then divided equally between the surviving children.

Changes to Intestacy Rules in 2020

The Government have announced that, as of 6th February this year, the Statutory Legacy will increase from £250,000.00 to £270,000.00.

The increase is most certainly a welcome change but, we at Cunningtons wish to ensure you do not rely on future increases of the Statutory Legacy as a reason for not having your Will drafted. It is incredibly important that each individual has their Will drafted by a qualified Solicitor especially as under the Rules of Intestacy, unmarried partners will not inherit.

Avoiding the Pain of Intestacy

The president of the Law Society, who have also reported on the matter today, reinforces our view and states:

“Writing a legally valid will with the help of an expert solicitor ensures people’s estate is inherited exactly as they would choose and can prevent a whole raft of problems landing on loved ones when they are grieving.”

We never know when our life will end, so it is important that we all make a valid Will – just in case. And if you have been left in the painful position of having a loved one die intestate, contact us to discuss what can be done.

If you would like further information about having your Will drafted – or you wish to review the Wills you currently have please contact the Wills and Probate team on 01376 567280. 

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