Rule Changes February 2020 : Spouse Inheritance Sum Rises to £270,000

On the 6th February 2020 a rule change came into play meaning the fixed inheritance sum for a surviving spouse rose to £270,000 if there is no Will in place.

While the increase of 8% in the statutory legacy is welcome, in today’s society, it can be argued it doesn’t go far enough in protecting a surviving spouse/civil partner. With house prices in many parts of the country exceeding this limit and with the risk of the surviving spouse potentially not inheriting the security of the whole of the family home if the person who died owned it solely, it still means loved ones can lose out.

In addition, there is still no protection for unmarried couples.

Rather than risk the rules of intestacy taking effect, it is always better to ensure you have put a Will in place. Although the prospect of making a Will is not something relished by most people and is often an area that people are reluctant to talk about, continually putting it off can be a costly and sometimes stressful oversight.

It is a common misconception that the entirety of your estate will pass by default to the most obvious beneficiaries in your life (be it a spouse or children), but that is not always the case. The rules surrounding intestate estates (i.e. where a person has died without leaving a valid Will in place) are complex and family members are often overwhelmed by the challenges of administering an intestate estate following the loss of a loved one. Making a Will ensures that your wishes are met and that your estate passes to those who you wish to benefit.

It is particularly important to give thought to your Will planning when extended families and second marriages are relevant. Without a correctly drafted Will in place, children of the family from the first marriage could find themselves completely disinherited in favour of the spouse and children from a second marriage. Seeking advice from a specialist can safeguard against such an eventuality and provide you, and your family, with peace of mind.

For further information on will planning visit our Individuals page.