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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
If a person dies without leaving a Will then they die intestate. This means their estate will be dealt with under the intestacy rules which dictates who inherits the deceased’s estate.
In October 2014 changes to the rules that determine what happens to our assets when we die without making a Will came into force. The new intestacy rules marked one of the biggest updates to the law on succession in recent years.
Previously, the rules were quite complex and although most people thought their surviving spouse or civil partner would automatically inherit their estate when they died , this was not always the case as children, parents and even siblings might have been entitled to a share of the estate. Following the changes, the intestacy rules now state that when the intestate is married or in a civil partnership and does not have children, all assets will pass to the surviving spouse. However, if the intestate leaves behind a spouse and children, the spouse will receive a statutory legacy of £250,000 plus half of the remainder of the estate. Any children of the deceased will receive the other half of the remaining estate at the age of 18 years.
The new rules do not however impact on unmarried couples (whether they have children or not) as without a Will, cohabitees are not entitled to receive any of the remaining estate.
For advice please contact our team.