Statutory legacy increase explained
When someone dies without a Will, they are said to have died 'intestate' and the Intestacy Rules will then apply. The Intestacy Rules govern how your estate will be divided on your death, depending on your family circumstances. The rules apply to all deaths in England and Wales.
Where someone dies without a Will, leaving a surviving spouse and no children, the spouse will inherit the entire estate under Intestacy Rules.
Where the deceased doesn't have a Will and leaves a surviving spouse or civil partner and children, the spouse or civil partner receives all of their personal items, a fixed value of money, known as the 'statutory legacy', and half of the residue (anything remaining after personal chattels and the 'statutory legacy'). The children receive the other half of the residue equally between them.
The government has recently announced an increase in the 'statutory legacy', from £250,000 to £270,000. The sum takes effect from 6 February 2020, and will apply to deaths after that date.
Whilst the increase in the fixed statutory legacy is welcomed, this should not stop you from making a Will and/or reviewing your current Will regularly.
Many people are also unaware that unmarried couples do not inherit from each other on death. Naturally therefore, it is prudent to ensure that you have a valid Will in these circumstances.
Having a valid Will, kept under review, is the only way you can effectively ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes, on your death. It can also prevent any additional stress and hardship for your friends, family members and loved ones when you pass away.
For individual advice and to understand more about the benefits of making a Will, please contact our Wills, Probate and Trusts Team.