The intestacy rules have now been updated to increase the amount that a surviving spouse can inherit when a person dies without leaving a valid will. This is known as the Fixed Net Sum.
The last update took place in 2014 and the next review should have been implemented in 2019, but was delayed until February 2020.
The Fixed Net Sum is what is often referred to as the Statutory Legacy. The Statutory Legacy is applicable when someone dies without leaving a valid will. It is payable to a spouse or civil partner. Where the deceased left behind children the amount payable to the spouse is now £270,000 which is an increase of £20,000 on the 2014 amount.
If there are no children the spouse is entitled to receive all of the deceased’s assets. Additionally, if the total value of the deceased’s net estate doesn’t exceed £270,000 they are entitled to the whole of the deceased’s estate, even if there are no children.
What about unmarried couples?
Unfortunately, you are not entitled anything under the intestacy rules. This is one of the reasons why making a will is so important.
Lindsey Rawson, partner, has welcomed the increase in the Fixed Net Sum as an attempt to keep the payment to a spouse in line with inflation. If you chose to rely on the Statutory Legacy and not make a will it could mean that your family find themselves in financial difficulty after your demise.