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New laws on Intestacy

You may have heard of someone dying “intestate”. This simply means that they have died without leaving a Will therefore their estate passes via the intestacy rules rather than in accordance with their express wishes which have been documented in a Will.

The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 (ITPA 2014) comes into force today (1st October 2014) and makes important changes as to how people’s assets and property who die intestate are distributed upon their death between their relatives.

Previously, if a Spouse died intestate and there were no children to the relationship then the first £450,000.00 from the deceased’s estate and half of the remaining estate passed to the surviving Spouse. The other remaining half was then distributed between the deceased’s blood relatives and surviving parents.

Where there are children to the relationship in an intestacy situation then prior to the new rules, a Spouse would inherit the first £250,000.00 from the deceased’s estate and then also receive a life interest in half of the remainder. The remaining half was then split between the children upon them attaining the each of 18.

The key changes under the new laws are twofold:

1. The surviving Spouse (married couples or civil partnerships), where there are no children, will now receive absolutely everything and nothing will pass to wider family members in the event there is a surviving Spouse.

2. Where there are children then a surviving Spouse will still receive the first £250,000.00 and now also half of the remainder. Previously the half of the remainder was only a life interest however the life interest is now abolished. The children will still receive half of the remainder above £250,000.00 upon attaining the age of 18.

In summary then the deceased’s Spouse will receive an increased share of the estate however the rules of intestacy are far from perfect and can be avoided at all costs simply by making a Will during your lifetime.

We cannot stress the important of making a Will and neither can the President of the Law Society who recently stated “The changes to the intestacy rules serve as a reminder of the importance of having a will. Dying without a valid will not only means your final wishes may go unheeded, but a financial and emotional mess is left for your loved ones to sort out. This need not be your final legacy.” We urge people to use a qualified, insured solicitor because they are trained to spot and address the issues that could lead to trouble later.’

Here at Laker Legal Solicitors we specialise in Wills, Probate & Intestacy matters so please contact us if you seek legal assistance in any of these areas.

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