New Death Without a Will Laws 2014.
There have been some major changes concerning wills and estate planning that have been introduced from 1st October 2014, in particular, regarding intestacy and dying without a will. This article will not include every scenario possible, but it will cover the basics of these new changes.
Firstly I will discuss what happens when you die without a will, the Intestates’ Estate Act. So, for example, if you are not married or not in a civil partnership, you are common-law spouses. Currently common-law spouses have no rights and under the new rules, this remains the same. If you and your partner are not married, and they die with a sum of money in the bank, you are not entitled to this money as you are only common-law spouses.
In a similar way, if a couple are not married, but do have children together, the children would currently inherit the money and not the common-law spouse. Again, the new rules do not change this, and so, if your wishes were for money to be inherited by your common-law spouse, a will would have to be written stating this.
Another scenario would be that a couple is married, but do not have any children together. Before 1st October 2014, the spouse would receive the first £450,000 of the estate, and then of the remaining estate, 50% would be a life interest for the spouse (meaning they do not own it, but do have access to it), and the other 50% is effectively left to other family members. However, under the new rules, if a person dies without a will, then the legally married spouse/civil partner will be entitled to everything, meaning other relatives will not receive anything at all.
Alternatively, if a person were to die without a will, but with a legally married spouse and children under the old laws, the spouse or civil partner would inherit £250,000 of the estate and the remainder of the estate would be divided into 2 halves, with 50% being held as a life interest for the spouse and 50% being held in a trust for the children. Under the new rules, in the event of death without a will for a married person with children, the spouse would inherit £250,000 of the estate as before and the rest of the estate would be divided into 2 halves again. However, the spouse will also be entitled to receive 50% of the remainder of the estate also, not as a life interest. Then, the other 50% will be held in a trust for the children as before.
In conclusion, the point this article is trying to make is, make a will. There is a 10 minute will writing service on our website, please feel free to take a look and if you have any queries regarding this article, don’t hesitate to contact us.