Intestacy Rules – Why it is still important to make a will

13th September 2016

Intestacy rules determine where assets go upon death, when no will exists.  The new rules, contained in the Inheritance & Trustees Powers Act 2014, mark the first change of its kind since 1926, and has highlighted the importance of creating a will before you die rather than having your final wishes dictated by the government.  Please read my previous blog which goes into detail on what the new changes are.

While the new rules have made the law clearer and more concise, they still heavily cater to married couples and those in civil partnerships, strongly favouring the surviving partner.  Other family members, friends and charities are still not included.

One of the biggest losers to the rules you can say are cohabitants.  They were considered to be included in the intestacy rules during the consultation phase, and offered the same entitlements as spouses, subject to conditions, but these proposals was never implemented.

Do the intestacy rules satisfy your requirements?  The illustration below shows who will benefit from your estate if you die without a will.  You may feel this is sufficient right now but what about in the future?  We must also appreciate that intestacy rules can be further updated at some point, and be amended in such a way that may prove to be unsuitable for you and your family or bring unintended consequences, therefore the new rules should not be relied upon as good family planning for the future.

As mentioned, cohabitants were considered in the updated rules but in the end were excluded.  The only way you can ensure that your estate passes on to the individuals you want and which truly reflects your intentions is to create a will.

If you would like to view our Intestacy Rules flowchart, please see the link below: