Rogers & Norton News

Changes to the Intestacy Rules

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 came into force on the 1st October 2014 and amends the current Intestacy Rules, i.e. how an estate is distributed when someone dies without a Will.

Previously if the deceased died, without a Will, leaving children and a surviving spouse/civil partner, then the spouse/civil partner was entitled to receive a statutory legacy of £250,000, all the deceased’s personal chattels and a life interest in half the remainder (the capital going to the children after the second spouse/civil partner had died).  The remaining half went to the children at 18. If the deceased died, leaving a surviving spouse/civil partner and no children, but surviving parents (or siblings if the parents had died) then the spouse would receive a statutory legacy of £450,000, personal chattels and half the residue outright.  The parents (or siblings) would receive the remaining half of the residuary estate.     

 The changes to the law mean that the surviving spouse/civil partner will still be entitled to receive a statutory legacy of £250,000 and all the deceased’s personal chattels but will now receive half of anything else remaining outright. The children of the deceased will therefore now only receive half of the remaining estate after the £250,000 and personal chattels have been given to the surviving spouse/ civil partner. In many estates this will mean that children will often receive very little or even nothing from their deceased parent. If the deceased dies, leaving no children, then their surviving spouse/civil partner will be entitled to receive their whole estate outright. Therefore in this instance the deceased’s parents or siblings will receive nothing.   

Even with the changes in the law, the Rules of Intestacy seldom reflect what the deceased would have wanted to happened to his/her estate. Intestate estates are often more complex, sometimes involving the need to trace potential beneficiaries, and, as a result, the costs of administering such an estate will be higher.

To avoid the issues surrounding Intestacy speak to one of our Wills and Probate team about putting a Will in place to allow you to choose who administers your estate and how your estate will be distributed.

Telephone 01603 666001 or email