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Married people and civil partners are set to receive a bigger share of the estate if one of them dies without making a will, says law firm DWF.
New rules on intestacy are due come into force on 1 February 2009. From then on if the deceased has children, their partner will receive the first £250,000 of the estate, instead of £125,000 as at present. If the deceased has no children but has a close relative - a parent, brother or sister, niece or nephew - their partner will receive the first £450,000 instead of £200,000 currently.
If the deceased has children, as at present, the surviving partner will also receive a ‘life interest’ in half of the rest of the estate – in other words they will have the use of the assets but will not own them. The remainder of the estate will be divided up between the children when they reach 18. If the deceased has no children, the partner receives one half of the remainder outright, whilst the other half goes to their other relatives.
Emma Gaudern, head of private client at DWF, said: “The new rules represent a better deal for surviving partners and will allow many of them greater financial security. However, they still make no provision at all for a co-habitee – who simply has no rights. These changes should alert people to the importance of making a will.
“It is a fallacy to think that if one partner dies, the other will automatically inherit everything. In some cases husbands or wives have had to sell their homes to pay off the relatives.
“By making a will you can leave your money to whoever you wish including unmarried partners, grandchildren or friends, as well as detail your funeral wishes and choose your executors.”
Notes to editors
DWF LLP is one of the fastest growing law firms in the UK. With over 950 people based in Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Preston, DWF provides a range of services grouped under the following practice areas:
Banking & Finance
DWF has developed extensive sector-specific expertise in a number of areas including: automotive, education, retail & leisure, legal expenses and food and resourcing. Further information on DWF is available via www.dwf.co.uk.
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