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Wills & Inheritance – Changes to Intestacy Rules

On November 10, 2014

Wills & Inheritance – Changes to Intestacy Rules

Making a will is one of the most important stages in your life, and without one the law decides who will benefit from your estate – and this may not be what you wanted.

What are intestacy rules?

Around one in three people die without a valid will for certain reasons. Legally, this is called ‘intestacy’ and when this occurs, the law decides under specific ‘Intestacy Rules’ who will benefit from that persons property and estate after they’ve died.

What are the new rules of intestacy?

Last month the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 introduced a number of new changes to the rules of intestacy for the first time since 1925. The changes could mean that children and unmarried partners could lose out so it’s essential that you make yourself aware of the key changes

  • Married/civil partnership with children – Under new rules the surviving spouse would inherit the first £250,000, and half the remainder of the estate, with the other half going to the deceased’s children.


  • Married/civil partnership without children – If a married partner dies when there are no children, then the surviving spouse/civil partner will inherit the whole estate.

(Under the old rules they would only be allowed £450,000 with the rest split between family members.)


  • Unmarried couple with children – If a will isn’t in place, there is no protection for unmarried partners, and the estate will go directly to the closest blood relative, with children first in line. Stepchildren are also excluded from benefitting.


  • Unmarried couple without children – Again, there will be no protection for unmarried partners or co-habitees. The entirety of the estate would go to the closest blood relative with parents first in line followed by siblings and cousins etc. 

We previously wrote about how half of UK adults have not made a will, which presents a big problem to unmarried partners and stepchildren who could be left financially vulnerable under the new rules. 

James Antoniou, head of wills at Co-operative Legal Services, said:

“If a person dies intestate, they lose control over what happens to their estate, meaning that their final wishes about what happens to their savings, assets and investments may not be met,” he said.

“It is extremely important that unmarried couples, in particular, have a valid will in place to ensure their assets and personal belongings go to the people they are intended for.”

Making a will doesn’t have to be a long, complicated, or costly process, and at Peter Robinson & Co. we will make it as straightforward and cost effective as possible for you. Whether you need help writing your will or just guidance with the wider decisions to help protect your Estate and Beneficiaries, we can help.

Call us today for advice on all aspects related to making a will

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  • Advice, guide, Will