DATE PUBLISHED: 12 Jul 2023 LAST UPDATED: 29 Jan 2024

Statutory Legacy Increase

On 5th July 2023, the UK government announced that the statutory legacy, being the amount that a surviving spouse/civil partner who leaves children, is entitled to received in England and Wales where a person dies intestate (without a valid Will) will increase.

The statutory legacy is currently £270,000 but will increase to £322,000 from 26 July 2023.

This will only apply where there is a spouse and children. Where a deceased dies leaving a surviving spouse or civil partner without children, the surviving spouse or civil partner inherits everything.

What is the statutory legacy?

Under intestacy rules, the way the estate of the deceased is distributed depends on who survives and their relation to the deceased and how many individuals there are.

There is an established order of priority for who inherits which is as follows.

  1. Spouse/Civil Partner
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandparents
  6. Aunts/Uncles

The rules do not make provision for unmarried partners (even very long-standing ones), step-children or close friends, therefore can cause upset and not take account of modern relationships.

Should we rely on the intestacy rules?

While the intestacy rules can provide for family, it may not be in the way in which you had intended or be the most Inheritance Tax efficient direction for your estate. In addition, as the rules are indiscriminate, they do not provide for moral or financial claims to be accommodated in the way in which they may have been addressed in a Will. This can leave your estate vulnerable to challenge, which can come at a significant cost both financially and emotionally to those involved and considerably delay the distribution.

The best way to avoid intestacy rules determining the distribution of your estate, is to make a Will. This means you can express your wishes as to how your estate is distributed and who you seek to benefit.


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