intestacy and family provision claims on death
On 14 December the Law Commission published its report on the
law of intestacy and family provision claims on death. It found
many instances where the current law is out dated and
The law allows anybody aged 18 or over to make a Will stating
how they wish their assets to pass on their death. Despite this,
thousands of people die each year without making a Will
(intestate). We set out below some of the key recommendations the
Under the law at present if you are married, but have no
children then depending on the value of your estate it could be
divided between your spouse and your parents/siblings. The Law
Commission recommends that the intestacy rules be amended to remove
the value limit and provide instead for the whole estate to pass to
the surviving spouse.
If you are survived by your spouse and children, then the
intestacy rules currently state that your spouse is entitled to
your personal belongings, the first £250,000 of your estate and a
life interest in half of the remainder. For large value estates
that fall within this category, the Law Commission has recommended
removing the life interest trust, which is often complex and
expensive to administer, and allowing instead for the surviving
spouse to inherit half of the balance outright.
Unmarried couples living together have no automatic right under
the current intestacy rules to inherit their partner's estate. This
is the case no matter how long they have lived together and even if
they have children together. Research suggests there are more than
2.3 million such couples. The Law Commission has recommended that
the surviving partner should share in their deceased partner's
estate without having to go to court if the cohabitation has lasted
for five years or more; or if the cohabitation has lasted for two
years and the couple have a child who was living in the same
household as the deceased.
We will continue to keep you updated as the draft Bill
For further information, please contact Alison
Craggs, solicitor in Blake Lapthorn's Succession and Tax team and a member of the
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the
Elderly based in Oxford. She can be
reached at email@example.com
or on 01865 254 209.
Alternatively, contact the head of team in the
office nearest you:
Brooks, partner and head of Private Client
Services group in our Portsmouth office, on 023 9228
2714 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antoniou, partner in our Oxford
office, on 01865 254286 or at email@example.com.
solicitor in our Southampton and Portsmouth offices, on 023 8085
7282 / 023 9228 2748 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smith, partner in our London
office, on 020 7814 5438 or at email@example.com.
Alternatively, email our general enquiries helpdesk