Increase in inheritance amounts

On Monday 1st February, new rules will come into effect on the amounts that automatically go to your husband or wife if you die without making a Will? The change in the rules was announced last year by the Ministry of Justice.

Currently, if you die without leaving a Will the first £125,000 of your estate will automatically go to your spouse or civil partner if you have a child, or the first £200,000 if you have no children. From 1st Feb, these amounts will increase to £250,000 if you have children or £400,000 if you do not.

These statutory limits only apply in certain circumstances. They were last increased in 1993 and have been raised because of the concerns that the current levels are too low to accomodate the rise in value of estates.

Henry Anstey, head of hc solicitors' Wills, Trusts and Probate team commented "We welcome these increases which are more realistic in today's terms. However, there is no substitute for making a Will - especially if you are not married or in a civil partnership, have children from more than one marriage, are divorced or separated or have a property worth more than the statutory limits. Many families will also want to cater for infant children by setting up trusts or appointing guardians and this requires not only a Will but also expert advice on the best ways to do this. Consulting a solicitor when you want to make provisions for the future is always a good idea as they can help you to consider difficulties that might arise in the future such as inheritance tax, care homes fees or being unable to make your own decisions.

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.