Increase in Statutory Legacy

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    The Government has announced that spouses and civil partners are to inherit more money from their loved one’s estate if they die without a Will.

    The decision has come after concerns were raised that the current amounts, £125,000 and £200,000, were too low. Unsurprising when you consider that the last time the figures were reviewed was 1993. The proposals were instigated by an analysis of the responses to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation paper, Administration of Estates—review of the statutory legacy which was published in 2005.

    From the 1st February 2009 the new levels will be £250,000 where the deceased leaves a surviving spouse or civil partner and children and £450,000 where the deceased leaves a surviving spouse or civil partner, parents or siblings but no children. The report discussed the purpose of the statutory legacy which is to meet the aims of an average person who dies without making a Will and what they would have wanted if he or she had made a Will.

    The biggest complaint about the current rates is that a legacy was not sufficient to allow the surviving spouse to remain in the marital home. The disparity in house prices between different regions makes it difficult to pecifically link the statutory legacy with the market so the aim is to reduce the 4000 cases each year where a spouse is in danger of losing their home due to the low statutory legacy.

    Justice Minister Bridget Prentice has been quoted as saying that ‘the increase will give extra protection to married couples and civil partners whose spouse or civil partner dies without making a will but it also highlights how important it is for both men and women to make arrangements for their loved ones in the event of their deaths.’ She went on to comment ‘don’t leave it to chance, make sure your loved ones are properly provided for by leaving a Will’.

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    I am a Professional Will Writer and I offer a small number of other products that complement my Will Writing such as Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPA’s), Fixed Price Estate Administration, often called Probate and some Property Products such as changing a family home from Joint owners to Tenants in Common.

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