With effect from 26 July 2023, there has been an increase to the Statutory Legacy, being the initial sum provided to a surviving spouse or civil partner when a person dies without having left a valid Will.
The Intestacy Rules decide what happen to an estate when a person passes away without a Will. Prior to the changes on 26 July 2023, a Statutory Legacy of £270,000 passes to a surviving spouse or civil partner and any remainder thereafter is halved between the surviving spouse or civil partner and any children of the deceased. The change is implemented as from 26 July 2023 has now increased this amount to £322,000.
Many people misunderstand how an estate will pass when there is not a valid Will in place and incorrectly assume that everything passes to a surviving spouse. It therefore makes it vitally important that a Will is made if the deceased has no intention of capping their spouse or civil partner’s entitlement.
Furthermore, a valid Will will give the deceased the ability to make sure their estate is dealt with by the person who he trusts to carry out his last wishes as well as to appoint Guardians to raise their children. Wills can also be helpful in terms of protecting assets by utilising Trusts, and can be a useful tool for tax mitigation.
It goes without saying that in today’s day and age many couples choose not to marry and without a Will, a couple in a long term co-habiting arrangement may find themselves in a compromised position if there is not a valid Will in place. The Intestacy Rules do not provide for couples who are not married regardless of the length or seriousness of their relationship.
If you would like any further advice or would like to discuss the benefits of making a Will, our specialist Wills team can assist.