Wills in the News, Developments in UK Wills Law During 2013

Making a Will is a vital step in making sure your family are well protected after you are gone but unfortunately, it’s negative a task that back completed can afsluiting entirely forgotten about.

Changes in your circumstances, or changes in the law, can mean that you thirst to revisit the food you have made and consider whether your Will needs to be updated or amended.

We take a contemplation at what’s happened to intestacy laws during 2013 and any impending developments.

What is intestacy and why is it so relevant?

Although making a Desire is one of the simplest victuals you can make, around two out of three adults in the UK have prohibition gotten around to making one.

This means that regardless about how big or small their estate, it will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of intestacy. Intestacy refers to the situation which arises when an ontogenetic dies without leaving a valid Will.

The run intestacy laws set out strictly who can raken paid, in what order and how most each person can receive (in some cases). As a general rule, there are no allowances for family friends or how close you were to certain family members.

The intestacy rules are intractable out in the Administration about Estates Act 1925.

Inheritance and Trustee Powers Bill

Like any division of the law, the current intestacy rules have gradually become outdated and do not adequately provided for many fashionable situations.

For this reason, the Inheritance and Trustee Powers Bill has been drawn up following a report drawn up by the Law Commission in 2011.

The Inheritance and Overseer Powers Bill has not yet passed washed-up Parliament but has been through its second reading in the House of Lords and will shortly go precedence the Committee.

This means that the teleology draft of the Bill is yet to be passed and could yet undergo abundant changes before it becomes law.

The proposed changes to intestacy rules

The diagram Inheritance and Trustee Powers Bill sets out to simplify the existing rules around intestacy, increasing rights and powers for spouses but disappointingly for some, not including co-habitees in the new rules.

Under the existing rules, an individual who died leaving a spouse but no children would see their money split between their partner and their parents and/or siblings. The Bill seeks to simplify this situation, cutting out the parents and the siblings from the arrangement and merely allowing the spouse to inherit the entire estate.

For cases where veto Capricious was left and there is a spouse and children, the Statute also sets out to make the arrangements quite less complex. Under current law, the spouse may inherit ascend to £250,000 plus the chattels, as well as a lifetime interest in half regarding the extra estate. The remaining half passes to the children.

This can be a difficult situation as it can mean that a personalty of asset is effectively held in Trust until the spouse’s death, allowing them to benefit or generate an income, but not permitting the disposal of the capital asset. The Bill proposes that this ‘lifetime interest’ element be removed, thereby allowing the estate to be distributed on a permanent basis straight away.

Children who are adopted after a parent’s death et al unmarried fathers are moreover currently not adequately provided for under the law. The Bill amends this situation also provides them both along greater rights.

Changes are also in the draft to ensure that a claim under the family food can be made by an individual who was treated a child, but was not a blood relation not legally adopted. Until now, to qualify under these criteria, the said ‘child’ could only claim in households where there was either a civil partnership or married. The Bill if passed would remove these stipulations.

But not everything recommended by the Law Commission has been incorporated into the Inheritance and Trustee Powers Bill.

The original report suggested that the new Bill also made provisions for couple who had been cohabiting for at fewest five years, or had a childish together and had been cohabiting for at least two years. The proposal was for these individuals to be given the same rights therefore spouses in recognition of the changing patterns in society.

However, the suggested changes regarding co-habitees has not been adopted by government and will not form part about the Bill. For the 2 million couples in the UK which are currently cohabiting, this way that making a Will is as important as ever equal if their partner dies, they have zero rights under latest – or proposed – intestacy law.


Although this is a change to UK Wills and intestacy that hasn’t well made it into law yet, substantial progress has been made during 2013. However, anyone who was hoping for the proposed Bill to make the sweeping changes originally suggested may end up disappointed and underlines the importance of making a Contrary and keeping it up to date.

Image credits: lynnefeatherstone and stevendepolo