Nansi Webb gives an update on The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014, which has just received Royal Assent and is expected to commence on 1st October this year.

It’s the end result of a six-year project by the Law Commission. Their task was to review the rules that apply when someone dies without leaving a will (‘the intestacy rules’) and also the rules for claims against a deceased person’s estate by certain family members for some provision or greater provision.

Worryingly, the studies they looked at suggested that between half and two thirds of the adult population do not have a will and that it is often the person who most needs a will who dies without one.

Some key changes are:

  •  if the person dies leaving a spouse or civil partner but no children (or grandchildren etc), their whole estate will pass to their spouse or civil partner under the intestacy rules.  Previously, parents or siblings would have had an entitlement in estates worth more than £450,000
  • Where the person dies leaving a spouse or civil partner and  children (or grandchildren etc) the spouse will have a fixed sum of money and the residue of the estate will be divided as to half for the spouse and half for the children. Previously under the intestacy rules the spouse only had the income from half the residue and was not entitled to the capital which passed to the children after his or her lifetime. 

  • Claims for family provision from someone’s estate can now be made by someone who was treated as a ‘child of the family’ by the deceased even though this was not in the context of a marriage or civil partnership.  Any family in which the deceased had a parental role will now count including single-parent families.

These are long-overdue reforms and are to be welcomed.  However, making a will with professional advice remains the best way of ensuring that your loved ones are going to be properly provided for after your lifetime.

For further information or advice please contact one of our team below:

Nansi Webb (Leominster office) 

Giles Scott (Hereford office) 

Carolyn Theobald (Hay on Wye office)



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