On 1st October 2014 changes were made by the Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Act 2014 that affected the intestacy rules as well as the definitions of chattels for probate. From February 2020 further changes were introduced.

This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to changes to the intestacy rules and definition of chattels for probate.

The 2014 changes included:

Changes to the intestacy rules

Where a couple is married, the whole estate passes on intestacy to the surviving spouse in all cases where there are no children or descendants. Previously relatives such as parents, siblings, nieces and nephews shared the residue of the estate after surviving spouse entitlements.

Where the deceased is survived by spouse and children: the surviving spouse takes the personal chattels (note new definition below) and a statutory legacy of £250,000 (since increased, see below), plus half of any balance of the estate absolutely. The surviving children or other descendants take the remaining half on statutory trusts. 

Personal chattels: new definition

"Tangible movable property other than any such property which consists of money or securities for money, or property used at the death of the intestate solely or mainly for business purposes, or was held at the death of the intestate solely as an investment."

Chattels include all tangible movable property except for property:

  • Consisting of money or securities for money.
  • Used at the death of the intestate solely or mainly for business purposes.
  • Held only for investment purposes.

2020 change to statutory legacies

From 6 February 2020, the statutory legacy amount increased to £270,000

Wills should have been updated accordingly for these changes.

ICAEW members have been able to practice in probate from September 2014 on passing an examination and meeting qualifying conditions. ACCA members have been able to practice in probate since 2018, once similar conditions are met. 

Squirrel ad

Are you enjoying our content? 

Thousands of accountants and advisers and their clients use www.rossmartin.co.uk as their primary TAX resource.

Register with us now to receive our receive our FREE SME Topical Tax Update & newletter