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No will? These changes could affect you

Emma Weir

13th February 2020

This February, change is afoot in the amount of money that can be left to the spouse of someone who has died without leaving a will. Previously the statutory legacy was £250,000 and this will rise to £270,000.

The rules of intestacy govern how an estate is shared where there is no will and this increase, although welcome, is a timely reminder that many people are unaware of the rules and what happens if an estate is intestate.

Your inheritance

As the surviving partner of someone who died without a will, you are now entitled to the sum of £270,000 together with your partner’s personal belongings and 50% of the remaining estate. The other 50% goes directly to the children.

Although £270,000 may seem like a lot of money, if, for instance, your partner was sole owner of the house you live in, and it is worth more than £270,000, any children will automatically inherit a share of the property. They could potentially force a sale, which would be disruptive and upsetting for all concerned.

Who is affected by the change?

The change is only relevant to married couples and civil partners with children. Unmarried couples, even those that live together, have no rights of inheritance at all and are particularly vulnerable where there is no will. Only a will allows distribution of an estate and assets as you would wish. If you would like your spouse to inherit 100% of your estate, you must write this in your will.

If you don’t have a will, don’t panic!

Our Private Client team are at hand to advise and help with setting up your, or your partner’s will. They will guide you through the rules of inheritance and how to ensure your estate is distributed exactly as you would wish.

Please call or email Emma Weir on 01273 843405, e.weir@griffithsmith.co.uk


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