New Intestacy rules increase a spouse's inheritance


From February 2020, a surviving spouse will inherit more under the Intestacy rules. Under the rules, 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.

The last statutory legacy rate was set on 11 October 2014 at £250,000. The new sum of £270,000 took effect from 6 February 2020.

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 (The Act) implemented most of the reforms recommended in a Law Commission Report ‘Intestacy and family provision claims on death’ published in 2011.

The Act sought to modernise and simplify the law to create a fairer and more comprehensible set of rules governing the distribution of estates of deceased persons and to amend the law relating to the powers of trustees.

What would a spouse receive?

A surviving spouse will inherit all the assets up to a value of £270,000. This includes any property (such as the home). All personal possessions of the deceased spouse would be inherited too.

However, if the value of the estate exceeded £270,000, it would be divided as follows:

50% to the surviving spouse

50% to be divided equally between any children.