Probaters blog: intestacy rules, current and proposed
We all know that we should make a will, but according to the AA legal services, as reported in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/10106145/Rise-in-wills-disputes-over-illegitimate-children.html almost half of us have still not made a will, often because we have not yet got round to it!
Maybe some feel that the law will take care of it – and it will indeed,- although perhaps not the way you may hope! Current intestacy rules provide that the estate of someone with a wife (or civil partner) and children, who dies without a will, is divided by first giving the surviving spouse (or civil partner) a “statutory legacy” of £250,000. The remainder of the estate is divided in two. One half goes to the children equally and the other half is put on trust for the lifetime of the spouse (or civil partner), with the right to receive interest only and thereafter it passes to the children. Unmarried partners have no rights of inheritance under intestacy rules!! The prosed new intestacy rules retain the £250,000 statutory legacy ( where there are children), but gift outright to the spouse (or civil partner) their half of the remainder of the estate, rather than giving a mere life interest.
Whilst this does improve the position of a spouse (or civil partner), clearly unmarried partners should be aware that intestacy rules , current or proposed, give them nothing and so they should think carefully about making a will, particularly where children are involved. If your unmarried partner dies intestate, you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Probaters is experienced in all aspects of inheritance claims.