November 11, 2014

Changes to intestacy law take effect

The changes, introduced under the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act, are expected to modernise and speed-up the inheritance process and bring it in line with other Western countries.

“We want to make sure that when someone dies, and they haven’t left a Will, their property will be dealt with sensibly and as quickly as possible,” said Justice Minister Edward Faulks.

The old intestacy rules were regarded by many as overly-complicated, having not been altered since 1925.

Under the old system, in cases where a married couple had no children, the remaining spouse was entitled to only a portion of the estate, with the rest being divided amongst blood relatives.

Similarly, when a married person died intestate with children, the spouse received 50% of the inheritance and then collected income on half of the remaining portion until their death.

However, under the new rules the spouse would have greater entitlement in both cases: if the couple had no children, the spouse would receive all of the inheritance and if the couple had children, they would receive 75% as a capital sum.

The laws only affect those who die without leaving a Will and have an estate worth £250,000 or more. And despite calls from a number of solicitors, the new system still doesn’t improve the position of cohabitees.

Our experts at Royds are experienced in all matters relating to intestacy laws. We are also available to help clients draft their Wills. For more information, please visit or contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst.

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