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Dying without a will – minor changes to the rules

News / 17-01-2020 / London

Under UK law if you die without having made a will then the Government has, essentially, made one for you. This is called dying intestate and these are the statutory intestacy rules. As of 6 February 2020 there will be minor changes to these rules.

If you die married and with children without having made a will, then from 6 February 2020 your spouse will automatically be entitled to the first £270,000 of your estate. Before this forthcoming change in the rules, it was limited to £250,000. The remainder of the estate is split equally between your children.

If you die married but with no children without having made a will, then there is no change in the rules. Your estate is passed, in its entirety, to your spouse.

If you die unmarried or you survive your spouse, then the rules vary according to which family members survive you. For example, if you have children then they will be entitled to receive everything in equal shares, if you do not have children then it is your parents who will be entitled to receive your estate in equal shares, then your siblings, and so on. It is important to note that an unmarried partner is not entitled to inherit from your estate under the intestacy rules.

You should also be aware that if you get married any previous will is no longer valid, unless it was made ‘in contemplation of marriage’. The Government imposed statutory intestacy rules are used to decide how your property will pass instead.

To find out more, and to consider updating or writing your will then please get in touch with Cheryl Clark on 0207 759 1457 to speak to our Private Client team.

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Anna Coakes

Anna Coakes Partner