New legislation for parents without a valid will

Research released by YouGov show that one in six parents currently do not have a valid will in place. Should an adult pass away without such provisions being made, leaving a spouse and children, the Rules of Intestacy dictate how a persons estate will be passed on, known as the Statutory Legacy. Changes to this in February 2020, following the governments 5 yearly review, could affect millions of people in the UK and it’s important to understand how these laws may affect you if the worst should happen.

Statutory legacy over the last 5 years has meant that surviving spouses or civil partners receive the first £250,000 of the deceased persons estate and all of the deceased’s personal possessions.  Any remaining estate would be divided so that half would go to the spouse or civil partner and the remaining divided equally between any children. As of February 6th the statutory legacy has been increased to £270,000, with all other elements remaining the same. This means that the spousal share has gone up by £20,000, unless there is a valid will in place that expresses different wishes.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society, has welcomed the changes but stressed the importance of writing a will. ‘This increase is very welcome but many people are unaware that under intestacy laws, unmarried partners and close friends cannot inherit,’ he said. It is important to note that these changes only affect those in marriages or civil partnerships, meaning that those couples who are not classed as a spouse or civil partner will not receive any part of a deceased persons estate. In this scenario a will is very important to ensure that there are no disputes at an already devastating time.

As many people have wishes for their estate that may differ from the Statutory Legacy, we strongly recommend people have an up to date will in place so that final wishes can be carried out accordingly. In addition to this it is important to understand tax implications of inheritance and discuss all possible scenarios with an expert.

To discuss updating or putting in place a will please contact us for an expert consultation.