Will Dispute News – Proposed changes to the Intestacy Rules

12 April, 2013
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

The Government has prepared a draft Inheritance and Trustees Power Bill (“the Bill”)following the recommendations of the Law Commission in December 2011.

The Bill proposes a change to the current Intestacy Rules. Under these, where a spouse and children are left behind, the spouse only receives the first £250,000 with the remainder being split into two equal amounts. The first passes to the deceased’s children immediately and the second is held on trust for the children, with the surviving spouse benefiting from these funds during her lifetime.

The change proposed under the new Bill is that the surviving spouse will receive outright:

  1. The £250,000 statutory legacy
  2. All the deceased’s personal chattels, and
  3. Half the balance of the remaining estate.

The new Bill essentially improves the position for surviving spouses.

It also proposes to widen the ability of claimants to bring Will claims against an Estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”). Currently, the Act does not extend to parties domiciled abroad but the new Bill proposes that a claim could be brought against the Estate of a non-domiciled deceased under the Act who held property in England and Wales at the time of their death.

The Ministry of Justice has invited comments on the draft Bill before 3 May 2013.

To view the draft bill click here