Tomorrow, a rule update comes into force meaning surviving spouses will inherit a greater amount, although expert opinion advises the surest way to sidestep inheritance issues is to write a will.
As of February 6, if a partner dies with no will written, the sum that automatically goes to their spouse is rising to £270,000.
What will happen to your estate should you die with no will in place is governed by the intestacy rules, which were last updated six years ago in 2014.
Presently, a spouse surviving their partner will get the initial £250,000 of the estate, the entirety of their personal belongings and property, along with one half of the estate remaining. If the couple have children, however, the remainder must be divided between either them or any descendants of theirs.
The amount automatically issued is updated to keep in line with inflation every five years, which is the reason for the increase.
Many couples are under the false impression that their estate will automatically pass to their partner if they die without a will. Personal finance Campaigner Myron Jobson commented on those passing without writing a will:
“You relinquish control of what happens to your home, savings and other possessions. Things get more complicated for unmarried couples as the surviving partner has no automatic right to inheritance. Your assets will be split in a standard way defined by law – which may not align to your wishes.”
Not having an up-to-date will drafted by a solicitor in place can also lead to family conflicts over inheritance and costly fights in court.