The statutory legacy is the sum to which a surviving spouse/civil partner is entitled from the estate when the deceased died intestate (without having made a valid will) with children. It was first introduced in 1925 and was designed to protect the interests of the surviving spouse/civil partner, but also to balance them against the interests of the children of the deceased person. It was last changed in October 2014 when it was set at £250,000 under provisions in the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014. The figure is meant to be updated every five years.
Under the current intestacy rules, if the deceased has no children, their partner will inherit the entire estate.
Only partners who are actually married or in a civil partnership at the time of death are entitled to inherit under the intestacy laws. If they have divorced or if the civil partnership has been legally ended, they cannot inherit under the rules.
Unmarried partners, whether they lived with the deceased or not, are not entitled to receive anything under the rules of intestacy.
The way to avoid relying on the intestacy rules is to write a legally valid will.
If you would like advice on intestacy or about drafting a will, please do get in touch with Hanne & Co’s Private Client team who will be more than happy to assist. You can reach us on 020 7228 0017.
Prue Abrahams is a solicitor in Hanne & Co’s Private Client team.