Inheritance Law: Statutory Legacy Sum Rises
The Statutory Legacy Sum is an important aspect of inheritance law.
On 26 July the statutory legacy sum increases from £270,000 to £322,000 in England and Wales. This increase will lead to potential changes in estate planning, inheritance distribution, and legal proceedings. In this blog, we will delve into the details of the increase and its likely impact on beneficiaries and testators.
What is the Statutory Legacy Sum
The statutory legacy sum represents the minimum amount of inheritance a surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to receive when their partner passes away intestate (without a Will).
What are the Implications of the Increase?
Enhanced Protection for Surviving Spouses and Civil Partners
One of the primary outcomes of raising the statutory legacy sum is to provide greater protection to surviving spouses and civil partners. By increasing the minimum amount, they are entitled to inherit, the law aims to ensure that surviving partners can maintain a certain standard of living even if their deceased partner didn't leave behind a valid Will.
Impact on Estate Planning
For individuals planning their estates, the increase in the statutory legacy sum demands careful consideration. Those who intended to leave smaller bequests to their spouses or civil partners may need to reassess their plans to ensure the desired distribution of assets.
Legal Challenges and Intestacy Disputes
The hike in the statutory legacy sum could potentially lead to a decrease in legal disputes over intestate estates. Surviving partners might be less inclined to contest the estate in court if they are satisfied with the increased statutory inheritance they are set to receive. This, in turn, could ease the burden on the court system and expedite the probate process.
Impact on Intestacy Laws in Other Jurisdictions
While this development specifically affects the UK, other jurisdictions might take note of this change. Countries with similar intestacy laws might consider revisiting their statutory legacy sums to ensure they remain fair and relevant to the present economic climate and societal norms.
This change has the potential to redefine the landscape of inheritance law, ensuring greater protection for surviving spouses and civil partners while also prompting testators to review and update their estate plans. As the legal community and individuals adapt to this alteration, it is essential to stay informed and consult legal professionals to navigate the evolving estate planning and probate landscape effectively.
How Bell Lamb & Joynson Can Help
If you do not have a Will in place or wish to review your estate in light of the increase to the Statutory Legacy Sum, please contact our Private Client team. If you would like straightforward advice about putting your final affairs in order or handling probate and estate administration after someone has passed away, read more about our Wills & Probate services here or get in touch with our Wills & probate solicitors on 03444 124348.