The statutory legacy amount due to a surviving spouse or civil partner when an individual has died intestate has been increased for the first time in over 5 years.

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 provides that when a spouse or civil partner dies without a will, the whole estate passes to their surviving spouse/civil partner if there are no children or descendants.

  • Where they are survived by both a spouse and children, the surviving spouse takes the personal chattels and a statutory legacy plus half of any balance of the estate absolutely.
    • The surviving children or other descendants take the remaining half of the estate on statutory trusts. 
  • The statutory legacy amount has been fixed at £250,000 since October 2014 but has now been increased to £270,000 with effect from 6 February 2020.

Links to our useful guides:

IHT: estate planning checklist

Giving your home to your children

Deed of variation