If you die without having a valid Will in place, the law decides who inherits your estate. The relevant rules are known as the intestacy rules. For married couples or those in a civil partnership with children, the surviving spouse/civil partner will receive the statutory legacy, which is a fixed sum from the deceased’s estate. From 6 February 2020, the statutory legacy for married couples and civil partners increased.
The statutory legacy increased from £250,000 to £270,000, meaning that the surviving spouse/civil partner will only receive the first £270,000 of the deceased’s estate, and a proportion of the remainder.
Relying on the intestacy rules may result in your spouse or civil partner only receiving part of your estate. This may cause complications, particularly with the family home. The only way to ensure that your spouse/civil partner inherits your entire estate is to make a Will.
It is important to note that there is still no protection for unmarried couples. If you are not married or not in a civil partnership and you would like your partner to inherit any of your assets on your death, you need to make a Will. Failure to make a Will in these circumstances will result in your partner receiving nothing from your estate on your death, which may leave them in financial hardship, and with no other option but to seek financial provision through lengthy litigation.”
If you would like any further information or would like to make a Will, please contact a member of our Wills and Probate team on 01329 822 333.