If a person dies without a Will they are said to die intestate and the law determines who inherits the estate and how much they receive.
If a person dies leaving a surviving spouse and children, the survivor receives the ‘statutory legacy’ (a fixed amount) and half the remainder of the estate, outright. Since 11 October 2014, the statutory legacy rate has been £250,000. However, from 6 February 2020, the legacy rate will increase to £270,000. The government reviews the amount of the statutory legacy every five years and it is increased in line with the Consumer Price Index.
The intestacy rules are restrictive and should not be relied upon when considering how you wish your estate to be distributed. The rules are as follows:
Married with children – your spouse/civil partner will receive all your personal belongings, for example, house contents, jewellery and car, and the first £270,000 of your assets. They will also receive half of your residuary estate outright. Your children will receive the other half once they reach the age of 18 years.
Married with no children – your spouse/civil partner gets everything.
Single or co-habiting – your partner (if any) is not entitled to benefit and they would need to initiate legal proceedings against your estate. Your estate will be shared between certain family members, such as children, parents, brothers/sisters, depending on who survives you.
What should you do now?
It is important to make a Will to ensure the people you wish to benefit do benefit after your death and at an appropriate age. You may also be liable to tax that could otherwise have been avoided. If you have made a Will, review it regularly, at least every 5 years, to make sure it reflects your current financial and personal circumstances.
How can Greenwoods GRM help?
Our team can provide you with advice or assistance on making or updating your Will. Contact +44 (0)203 691 2080 and ask to speak to a member of our Private Client team.