Increase to the statutory legacy

As from 26 July 2023, the fixed sum, known as the ‘statutory legacy’, passing to a surviving spouse or civil partner when a person dies leaving children and without having made a valid Will, has been increased to £322,000.

The intestacy rules provide for a deceased’s estate to be distributed in a particular way depending on the value of the estate and the surviving family members, as can be seen from our Intestacy Flowchart.

If the deceased died leaving no children, then everything passes to the surviving spouse or civil partner and the statutory legacy does not apply.

If the deceased had children, the surviving spouse or civil partner inherits the personal belongings, the statutory legacy and 50% of the remainder, with the other 50% passing to the children equally.

Where the deceased is unmarried with no children, the estate passes in accordance with a hierarchy of family members, depending on who survived the deceased.

It is worth noting that unmarried partners have no entitlement under the intestacy rules, even if they lived with the deceased as if they were married.

The increase in the statutory legacy, which had been fixed at £270,000 since February 2020, is in line with the Consumer Price Index and is generally welcomed. However, it is no substitute for making a valid Will and choosing who you want to benefit and how.

Should you have any questions regarding the intestacy rules or making a Will, please contact a member of our Tax, Trusts & Succession team.