The rules of intestacy in England and Wales changed today, with the coming into force of the Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Act 2014. This will mean that for spouses and civil partners with no children, the surviving spouse or civil partner will receive the whole estate.
If the married couple had children then the surviving spouse or civil partner will get the first £250,000 statutory legacy and also the deceased's personal chattels and half the balance of the remaining estate outright. The children or other descendants share the other half of the estate equally.
The result of this Act is to abolish the life interest trust, which came into effect on an intestacy of a spouse or civil partner, when that couple had children. The new rules apply even to estranged spouses..
It is now more important than ever to make your Will or review your existing Will.