Intestacy rules: change on the horizon

By Alex Barker and Ian Bradshaw

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Bill received royal assent on 14 May to become the Inheritance and Trustees’ Power Act 2014. In this update, we revisit our article from last August to provide a reminder of the changes that are due to come into force in October 2014.

The act changes several issues around the law of inheritance, but the focus of this update is on the amendments to the intestacy rules that govern the distribution of an estate in the absence of a valid will.

Broadly speaking, the act changes the default distribution to make it more favourable to a surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased. The position is changed both where the deceased is survived by issue (meaning direct descendants — children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on) and where the deceased leaves no issue behind but is survived by at least one parent or one full sibling…

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