Children and unmarried partners still vulnerable despite intestacy changes

Published: 22/09/2014

The rules surrounding estate administration for someone who has died without a Will are changing.

From 1st October the amount a spouse or civil partner will receive if their partner dies intestate increases.

If there are children:

  • The spouse or civil partner receives the first £250,000 of the estate. The remaining estate is then divided in half with the partner receiving 50 per cent and the deceased’s children sharing the remaining 50 per cent. Previously a spouse or civil partner had only received the interest off the remaining 50 per cent for the rest of their life.

If there are no children:

  • The spouse or civil partner inherits the entire estate. Previously they had inherited the first £450,000 with the remaining assets passed to the deceased’s family (parents or siblings or nieces and nephews).

Under the new rules unmarried partners are still not entitled to anything. If there are children then they will inherit everything and if not, the deceased’s family stand to inherit the whole estate.

Linda Cummins, Head of Wills and Probate, comments:

“One of the main reasons why a person fails to make a Will is because they are of the belief that their loved ones will automatically share and inherit everything equally or as they wished. As we can see from the new rules of intestacy, this is often not the case with certain loved ones particularly vulnerable.

“It’s hard to imagine your children not inheriting anything but if your estate is worth less than £250,000 then that’s exactly what would happen if you do not have a Will. In fact, even if your estate is worth more than £250,000, the new rules will see your children inherit less than they would have previously. This is because they will not longer receive the remaining 50 per cent of your estate when your spouse or civil partner passes away. This is particularly important if your children are from a previous relationship.

“Equally vulnerable are unmarried partners who, even under the new rules, stand to inherit nothing. As a consequence if the home you shared was solely in your name then your partner could find themselves locked in a difficult and lengthy legal battle with your children or family which could result in your partner losing the roof over their head .

“These new rules do not change the fact that everyone needs to make a Will to ensure all their loved ones are protected and provided for.”

Content correct at time of publication

Show All Articles