A local firm of solicitors is advising couples across the region about important new reforms that will impact the way in which assets are divided when someone passes away.
On 1st October, the Inheritance and Trustee’ Powers Act was amended in an effort to simplify current laws surrounding the inheritance process when someone dies intestate, and will affect married and civil partners, with and without children.
The new legislation will see the surviving partner of a married couple with no children inherit their spouse’s entire estate, and for those with children, the surviving spouse will get the first £250,000 as before, and now also half of the remainder rather than just a life interest. Before the changes were introduced, it was also expected that unmarried couples would be given more rights over their deceased partner’s estate, but no provisions have been made.
PCB Solicitor, Pauline Davies explained: “This is one of the biggest overhauls in recent years of legislation governing what happens to someone’s money when they die. Around 28 million adults in the UK don’t have a will in place, so the change is a necessity to protect the deceased’s loved ones and ensure they receive the assets they’re entitled to. The changes are positive news for married couples and civil partners, and means they will be entitled to a larger sum of their partner’s estate then previously. However, children of the deceased and blood relatives may find they lose out.
“The biggest surprise however, is that unmarried couples – with or without children – still have no legal right to inherit money or property upon their partner’s death, even if they deem themselves common law partners. If the couple does have children, they will still be treated as if they’re single and the entire estate will go to the offspring at 18 years old.
“As the changes don’t take into consideration unmarried couples, it’s essential that they make provisions for the future and draw up a will to protect their partner, and also any children. For both married and unmarried couples, the best way to divide assets is to seek legal advice and draw up a will that appropriately reflects their wishes, and ensures everything is left to whoever they choose – without leaving the law to decide.”
For further information about PCB Solicitors’ complete range of legal services, please visit the website via the link.
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