Intestacy: Spouse's Statutory Legacy

Wednesday 22nd January 2020

From 6th February 2020, when someone dies without leaving a Will and they have children, the amount payable to their spouse is increasing from £250,000 to £270,000.  This is called the “statutory legacy”.  Many people think that if they die without leaving a Will that everything passes to their spouse on their death, but this is not the case if you have children.  Under the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014, the Lord Chancellor is required to review the level of the statutory legacy every 5 years and this is the first increase.

If someone dies without leaving a Will and they have no children, their spouse will receive everything. If they have children, then the spouse will soon receive £270,000 plus half the rest and the other half is divided equally between the children.

If someone dies without leaving a Will, there is a risk that inheritance tax will be payable if you have children because not all of the estate will pass to the spouse.  When everything is left to the spouse, there is no inheritance tax to pay.

Of course, this does not apply if you are not married or in a civil partnership.  The intestacy rules do not recognise co-habiting partners and it is likely that they will be left with nothing.

Contact Waldrons about making a Will because only with a Will can you ensure that your ducks are all in a row.