On 1st October 2014 a number of long overdue changes to the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 came into force.  These changes will assist modern families and are as follows:

Intestacy Rules (rules that apply if a person dies without making a Will) Succession on intestacy

These rules have now been simplified so that there will be succession on Intestacy.  The new provisions will mean that :-

1.In the situation where the deceased leaves a spouse or civil partner and no children, the spouse / civil partner will inherit the entire estate. This is an important change in favour of a spouse/civil partner because previously other relatives such as surviving parents or siblings would receive a share if an estate was worth more than £450,000. This will prevent the surviving spouse / civil partner having to seek the help of the Court to avoid having to sell assets, such as the family home, in order to pay off other family members.

2. Where the deceased leaves a spouse or civil partner and child(ren), the spouse / civil partner will inherit the first £250,000 and personal “chattels” plus 50% of the estate balance. The child(ren) will inherit the other 50%.  Under the old rules, the spouse / civil partner received income from 50% of the balance or a complicated method being applied to allow capitalisation.  This could result in a large part of the Estate being tied up for many years to the deterement (and frustration) of the beneficiaries concerned who often missed out on their inheritance do to these old provisions.

Claims by family or dependants

Since 1975 the Courts have been able to award “Reasonable Financial Provision” from a deceased’s estate for certain types of family member or dependants (for example spouses, children, grandchildren) left inadequately catered for by the deceased’s will or the intestacy rules.  The changes to the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 has been widened so that step children of unmarried parents and non-cohabiting partners who were nonetheless financially mutually dependant on each other can now bring a claim under the Act.