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Changes to intestacy rules highlight need for a Will

On 1st October 2014 The Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 (ITPA) came into force making various changes to the intestacy rules – which determine how the assets of people who die without a Will are distributed between their relatives.

The main changes are:

  • to those who die leaving a spouse and no children, a spouse now inherits the entire estate
  • the removal of the complex life interest trust for those who die leaving a spouse and children

The changes are aimed at simplifying things for families whose loved one dies without having made a Will.  But whilst the changes have been welcomed by many – they do not suit everyone.

There are still no provisions for unmarried partners who have no right to receive anything, regardless of how long they have lived together, even if they have children together.

For persons separated from their spouse but not formally divorced, for those estranged from their family and those who have remarried with children from a previous relationship, this highlights the importance of not leaving things to chance.

It is still important to make a Will tailored to suit your individual circumstances.  This will ensure your estate passes to those people or organisations to whom you want it to pass.