The government has simplified inheritance laws in order to modernise the process of dividing the assets of a person who dies without making will.
It follows a review of intestacy law and a consultation carried out by the Law Commission.
Under the new laws, if a person dies intestate, that is without leaving a will, their estate will be split between their spouse and their children. The process will be simplified significantly as there had previously been a complex set of rules to follow in these circumstances.
A loophole has also been closed to ensure that adopted children will not lose out on their share of the inheritance.
If the person doesn’t have children, their entire estate will pass to their spouse. This removes another complex set of rules which involved allocating certain amounts to various family members.
Justice Minister Lord Faulks said: “We want to make sure that when someone dies, and they haven’t left a will, their property will be dealt with sensibly and as quickly as possible. That is why we have made these common sense changes to modernise the law and make administering an estate faster and easier.
“A large number of people do die without leaving a will each year, and I would encourage people of all ages to ensure they have properly considered making a will so that, if the worst happens, their own wishes are followed.”
The new laws will be helpful for a lot of people but, of course, they have their limitations. No two cases are the same and it is impossible to create inheritance laws that would suit everyone. The best way to make sure your assets go to the person or people you choose is to draw up a will.
Please contact us if you would like more information about making a will or any aspect of inheritance law.