When someone dies without making a Will the Intestacy Rules determine who gets what from that person’s estate.
Under the new rules cohabitees and common law partners have no automatic right to receive anything and it does not matter how long you have lived together. The only way to ensure that your partner or cohabitee receives anything is to make a Will or get married.
The biggest change relates to married couples where there are no children. Under the previous rules if the spouse died without a Will and there were no children the first £450,000 of the estate plus half of the rest went to the surviving spouse. The other half was split between the deceased’s blood relatives however the new rules mean that the possibility of parents or other distant relatives receiving monies on death are more remote.
From the 1st October 2014 the surviving spouse will receive the whole estate if there are no children. If there are children then the surviving spouse will take all of the first £250,000 and will then be fully entitled to half of the remainder. All the children will receive is half of anything above £250,000 and they will not receive that until they turn 18.