Statutory Legacy Increases – What Does That Mean For You?

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Last week the Lord Chancellor announced that there will be an increase to the Statutory Legacy to the surviving spouse where a person dies intestate (having no valid Will) on or after 6 February 2020. The increase is £20,000, from £250,000 to £270,000.
As with the previous figure, there are conditions attached to this; The legacy is £270,000 if the deceased has left a surviving spouse or civil partner and any ‘issue’. In wills and genealogy, a person’s issue is their lineal descendant (children, grandchildren etc) which differs from an ‘heir’ which includes a wider remit (cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles etc). If the deceased has died ‘without issue’ (ie, without children or remoter descendants) then the surviving spouse will receive everything.

Whilst the rules of intestate succession are there to decide who inherits when someone dies without having made a Will, we always advise clients of the potential pitfalls of not making a Will. One major pitfall being that the surviving spouse won’t necessarily inherit the whole estate on intestacy, and any excess estate over the Statutory legacy will be divided between spouse and children. This can lead to hardship and a cause for family tension and possibly conflict, which should be avoided at all times, but especially when dealing with grief from a loss of a loved one.

There are numerous reasons why an individual may not make a will, and a 2018 study suggested that 54% of UK adults do not have a will. If you do not have a will (or a valid will) and you require assistance then our team are happy to discuss the process of creating a will. They will meet with you to discuss your wishes and the implications of what you are planning to do. They will also make sure you have not overlooked any important issues and, where appropriate, can discuss additional services such as video Wills and the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorney.