You may recall we recently published an article addressing the increase of the statutory legacy under the intestacy rules which increased the sum from £270,000 to £322,000. This change took effect from 26th July 2023.
The statutory legacy determines how much the surviving spouse or civil partner would receive where the deceased died without a Will leaving children. The first £322,000 would go to the surviving spouse or civil partner and the remainder divided equally between the survivor and the children.
Has there been any accommodation to the common law partner?
Many are under the (incorrect) assumption that an unmarried partner can benefit where someone dies without a Will. This is not the case and some change has been welcomed for some time. However, under the new rules, we can report that common law partners are still not entitled to benefit under the laws of intestacy so if you do want your partner to benefit from your estate on your death, seek the advice of a professional to have a Will put in place.
What other changes are to come about?
Whilst the statutory legacy has been increased, there have been a few other changes to the intestacy rules which have been announced but are yet to be confirmed.
Currently, the age at which children can inherit under the intestacy rules is 18. This will be increased to 19.
The rules on how step-children and half-siblings inherit are also to be made clearer.
Can inheritance be re-directed?
Providing the beneficiaries are over the age of 18, in agreement and have capacity, the estate can be varied by entering into a deed of variation. Specific advice will need to be sought though.
Whilst the above is all a welcomed change, there are many benefits of making a Will as you are able to choose your beneficiaries, make specific gifts, name guardians to provide for minor children and consider the use of trusts – to name a few. For more information on the benefits of making a Will please see another of our articles here.
You can also go straight to finding a Member of The Society of Will Writers in your area by visiting our Find a Member page, or calling the office on 01522 687 888.