Better protection for couples without wills
Married couples and civil partners are set receive more money if one partner dies without leaving a will.
New government legislation means that the statutory legacy – or rules of intestacy has been increased. This is the amount of money paid if your husband, wife or civil partner dies without leaving a will.
However, from 1 February 2009, the amounts of money will increase to £250,000 (for couples with children) or £450,000.
The changes have been made following concerns that the current amounts were too low. This is the first time statutory legacy limits have been changed since 1993.
Justice minister Bridget Prentice says: "This increase will give extra protection to married couples and civil partners whose spouse or civil partner dies without making a will.
“But it also highlights how important it is for both men and women to make arrangements for their loved ones in the event of their deaths.”
There is concern that many married couples and those in civil partnerships assume that, should one partner die, the other will automatically be entitled to their assets.
Prentice adds: “It is up to individuals to make sure that their wishes are respected by making a will. Make sure your loved ones are properly provided for by leaving a will."
What to find out more wills?
Read our article Where there's a will there's a way.
If you die without making a will, your estate will be divided up and distributed according to a set of complicated procedures laid down by the law as set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925. The more complicated your life, the more complicated the intestacy laws after your death. Given that 60% of registered deaths last year were intestate, according to Title Research, the only way to ensure your estate is divided according to your wishes is to make a will.
Everything you own: all your assets (property, cars, investments, savings, insurance payouts, artwork, furniture etc) minus any liabilities (debts, current bills, payments still owed on assets like cars and houses, credit card balances and other outstanding loans). When you’re alive this is called your wealth; when you’re dead, it becomes your estate.