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Statutory Legacy – what is this and why is it important…

Date Added 05.10.23

The Statutory Legacy has increased for a Spouse when a person passes away without a Will.

When a person passes away without a valid Will in place, their estate passes in accordance with what is called the “Intestacy Rules”.  Many people would assume that when they pass away if they have a surviving spouse or civil partner, then their estate would automatically pass to them, however, this is not the case.

The “Statutory Legacy” is the specific sum given to the surviving spouse or civil partner of a deceased person, who has died without a valid Will in place, and has children.  From the 26th of July 2023 after a review took place, the amount of Statutory Legacy received under the Intestacy Rules increased from £270,000 to £322,000.

This therefore means that if the deceased has a spouse or civil partner and has children, then the first £322,000 of the deceased’s estate passes to the surviving spouse or civil partner, along with the personal possessions, and then half of the residuary estate (the remainder of the estate minus deductions).  The remainder of the residuary estate is then shared equally between the children of the deceased.

This law doesn’t apply to those who are cohabiting together, or living as common law spouses, regardless of the time together.  For the rules to apply, you must be married or in a civil partnership on the date the first partner passes away.  There may also be inheritance tax implications if your entire estate doesn’t pass to your spouse or civil partner, as the spouse exemption cannot be claimed.  It is also important for those with blended family arrangements to ensure the beneficiaries of your choice inherit from your estate.  For example, if your estate is below the £322,000 Statutory Legacy, then without a valid Will in place, only your spouse would inherit from your estate and your children would not.  This may not be your wish if the spouse is not the parent of your children.

Therefore, to ensure that your estate passes where you wish and that your family and beneficiaries are protected, we strongly advise drawing up a Will.

For further advice and guidance on Statutory legacy and how to put this important document in place…Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558 and our experienced Trusts and Estates team will happily assist.

find out more here on making a Will…

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