When someone dies without leaving a valid Will, they die ‘intestate’. The law will then dictate who will receive the assets of the deceased. If you die intestate, and you are survived by a spouse or civil partner and by your child or children, the statutory legacy takes effect. This is a fixed sum for the surviving spouse or civil partner before the remainder of the estate is divided out.
On the 27th July 2023, the statutory legacy was increased from £270,000 to £322,000. By way of example, if you die intestate leaving a surviving spouse or civil partner and a child or children, the surviving spouse will receive:
- £322,000 worth of assets
- your household contents and personal possessions
- a 50% share of any remaining assets.
The remaining 50% will pass outright to any biological children you have when they reach the age of 18.
For some people, this may not be the desired outcome. Therefore, it is important to create a Will so your wishes are followed.
It is important to note, if you are cohabiting with your partner and you are not married, you have no automatic right to inherit any of their estate, regardless of the time spent cohabiting or if you have children together.
To protect your wishes and your family’s future, it is important to make a valid Will where you state who you wish to inherit your estate.