Surviving spouses to receive £20,000 greater share of estate if partners die without a will in place
As of yesterday (6 February), the amount that a surviving spouse in England and Wales can automatically receive if their partner has children and dies without leaving a will has increased to £270,000.
A surviving spouse automatically inherits the entire estate if there are no children. However, under the new rules, where there are children, the bereaved partner will inherit an extra £20,000 plus half the remaining estate, and with the other split equally between any children.
Elaine Cruickshank, tax and trusts manager at Aegon argued that while this might sound like a financially attractive reason not to have a will, it is always important that individuals should put a will in place.
She said: "A will sets out how someone wants the ownership of their assets to pass when they die and as a result, it can help to make sure that adequate provision is made for the individual's nearest and dearest. A will can help with trust and inheritance tax planning and enables those with young children to name a guardian for their children should the worst happen."
According to Aegon, having a trust in place can also be hugely valuable. "From a protection point of view if an individual puts their life policy in a flexible trust for the benefit of their family, then any claim proceeds on their death won't usually form part of their estate," said Cruickshank. "This means that the claim proceeds won't be subject to the intestacy rules and the trustees can decide to pass some or all of the benefits to the surviving spouse should they need access to the proceeds."
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