Possible Reforms to Intestacy Rules

Firstly we should mention that we are not solicitors and therefore you should seek professional advice (e.g. a solicitor) before making a will.

What we did want to report on, however, is that the Ministry of Justice is proposing some changes to the intestacy rules governing England and Wales. The changes would affect the scenario in which a person with no children dies leaving no valid will. Currently the surviving spouse or civil partner receives the personal possessions, £450k and half of anything over that amount, with the remaining half going to the parents, or to siblings if there are no living parents, or the siblings’ offspring if the deceased’s siblings are also deceased.  The proposed new rules would instead mean that the surviving spouse or civil partner would inherit the whole estate.

But that is only if the deceased has no children. If they have children then other rules currently apply and changes are being suggested in relation to those too. Without wanting getting into too much detail on all the rules and scenarios (see more info here), the overall aim of the Ministry of Justice is to make changes which ensure the laws on intestacy become more closely aligned with public expectations.

However, there will never be a better solution than to simply make a will — and to keep it updated as your circumstances change (for example, did you know that getting married, or entering into a civil partnership after making your will will generally cancel that will unless the will specifically says it would not? Divorcing or dissolving a civil partnership after making a will can also make things complicated).

So, the general message is: make a will and get professional advice when doing so (contact your local solicitor) …. and then make sure you keep the will up to date.

If you are the beneficiary of a will and need to check your tax situation, for example for Capital Gains Tax purposes (“CGT”) or Inheritance Tax, then Taxfile can help you work things out so that you pay only the amount of tax that you need to, when you need to — just give us a call on 020 8761 8000 or contact us here.

Please note that the above does not constitute legal advice – you should always seek professional advice when making a will.