On 26 July 2023, there were some changes to the intestacy rules in England and Wales. These changes will affect everyone who dies intestate (without a valid Will) after 26 July 2023.
One of the most significant changes is an increase in the statutory legacy. The statutory legacy is the amount of money that a surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to receive under the intestacy rules.
The statutory legacy has now increased from £270,000 to £322,000. This means that a surviving spouse or civil partner will receive an extra £52,000 if their spouse or civil partner dies without leaving a valid Will. It is always important to double check the amount of the statutory legacy, as this has changed several times in the last few years and how much a spouse will receive will depend on the date of death.
Here is the link to the .Gov website which shows a table of statutory legacies and when these legacies increased IHTM12122 - Succession: intestacy: distributions (England & Wales): statutory legacy - HMRC internal manual - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
In addition to the increase in the statutory legacy, there are a few other changes to the intestacy rules that have been announced but have not yet been confirmed. These changes are:
- The age at which children become entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules will increase from 18 to 19. This means that their money will need to be held in Trust for longer. It is important to seek legal advice when holding money on trust for someone else to ensure that you are clear about your Trustee duties and how the Trust needs to be managed. Some trusts need to be registered with HMRC under their TRS scheme.
- The rules on how stepchildren and half-siblings inherit will be clarified.
Intestacys can be complex and we usually work alongside a genealogist to ascertain who should inherit under the rules. When dealing with an intestacy, extra care needs to be taken and consideration must be made for potential claims in the estate.
If you would like any assistance dealing with an estate where someone has died without a Will, please contact Giles Wilson today on 01702 477106 or email [email protected] and a member of our Estates team will be able to assist.