As of yesterday new rules came into force which change the way your estate will pass if you have not made a will.
Your spouse will receive the first £250,000 of your estate together with your personal chattels. The remainder will be divided equally half to your spouse and half to any children you have any equal shares.
If you are married but have no children your spouse will now inherit your entire estate under the new intestacy rules.
These changes have been brought about by the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014.
Changes are also to certain parts of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 to the eligibility criteria for reasonable provision claims. These are claims against your estate by those not automatically entitled to a share of your estate under the intestacy rules (as amended) eg. By other persons who have been maintained by you.
This potentially may make it easier for any person to whom you are not married but whom you support to make a claim against your estate but is still an area open to conflict.
Whilst the changes may provide some additional security for spouses the position with regard to cohabitees remain unclear within the legislation.
I would still strongly recommend that everybody should make a will to provide absolute clarity and to protect your loved ones against future issues.
Please contact me on 01924 290029 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further.