New intestacy rules

The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) came into force on 1 October 2014 and changes the way that a person’s estate is divided if they die without a valid will.

If the deceased person has a spouse or civil partner but no children then their surviving partner will inherit everything. Prior to 1 October 2014 in those circumstances the estate would have been shared by the surviving partner and the deceased’s parents or the deceased’s brother and sisters.

As from 1 October 2014 if the deceased person does have children then the surviving spouse or civil partner will receive the statutory legacy of £250,000 plus the deceased’s personal belongings and then half of the remaining estate. The other half will benefit the children of the deceased.

The changes do remind us of the importance of having a valid will in place. Dying without a valid will not only means that your final wishes may not be carried out but may also leave a financial and emotional mess for your loved ones to sort out.

The 2014 Act makes no provision for cohabiting couples; does not necessarily deal fairly with the competing claims of children from different marriages and does not cover the situation of separation or estrangement from a surviving spouse.

It is noteworthy that between half and two thirds of the adult population do not have a will and those who need one the most are the least likely to have one.

Will Aid Research in 2014 indicated that the most common reason people gave as to why they had not made a will was that they had not got around to it. 42% of 25 to 34 year olds thought they were too young to write a will; 23% of people asked thought they had nothing to leave and 13% of people asked incorrectly believed that their loved ones would automatically inherit.

Please give your family and loved ones the peace of mind of knowing that you have a will in place to carry out your last wishes. This is important no matter how simple you think the administration of your estate will be. Your family and loved ones will gain comfort from knowing that they are carrying out your wishes and not relying on the law of intestacy.

Make an appointment today to review your will or to make a will. The initial appointment is free. We are happy to visit you at home for free if that is more convenient.

Jenny Eley 01425 621515

Natasha Kenway 01425 279222

Paul Moores 01425 673994

Or e mail enquiry@dixonstewart.com

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