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.
Currently, if your partner dies “intestate”, you will receive the first £125,000 of your estate if you have children or £200,000 if you don’t.
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.