Partners to inherit more from intestate estates

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From 6 February 2020, spouses or civil partners will be able to inherit up to £270,000 if their partner dies without leaving a valid Will. The official name for this is dying ‘intestate’.

What happens in cases of intestacy?

When someone dies without leaving a valid Will, the law determines how much of their estate will be inherited by their partner, children and other relatives.

Since October 2014 the intestacy rules have stated that a surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit the first £250,000 of their loved one’s estate. If there are surviving children, partners will inherit all of the deceased’s personal possessions, the first £250,000 of the estate and half of the remaining estate. The other half will go to their children or remoter descendants.

What is changing?

From 6 February 2020, the amount that spouses or civil partners can inherit from an intestate estate is increasing from £250,000 to £270,000. If there are surviving children, partners will inherit all of the deceased’s personal possessions, the first £270,000 of the estate and half of the remaining estate. The other half will go to their children or other descendants.

In the event that there are no children or remoter descendants, the surviving partner will inherit the whole of the intestate estate.

Important points to consider

These rules only protect married couples or those in a civil partnership. Unmarried partners have no automatic right of inheritance even if they are living together as a couple at the date of death.

If you are single or cohabiting when you die, your estate could be divided up between a combination of some or all of your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, parents, siblings or remoter relatives who outlive you.

What can you do?

Having a valid Will is the most effective way to keep you in control of your assets. A good Will can also assist with tax planning and protecting family assets such as your home.

In any event, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice when considering your Will or administering an estate. Our expert advisors at Ashtons Legal will be happy to assist you and are well versed in matters concerning Wills, Inheritance Tax, and Probate, including dealing with an intestate estate.

For further information you can contact us through our website, or for a general enquiry by phone, please dial 0330 404 0767.

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If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?