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The Inheritance Tax and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 came into force on 1 October 2014. Its main provision is to alter the intestacy rules previously contained in the Administration of Estates Act 1925. These applied when a person had died without making a valid will. This person is known as ‘the intestate’.

Under the new rules, where the intestate leaves no issue (children, grandchildren etc.), the residuary estate (the net estate after debts have been paid and legacies paid) passes to the surviving spouse absolutely (in its entirety). There can be legacies in an intestate estate where the will does not dispose of the entire estate.

If the intestate dies leaving issue, the surviving spouse or civil partner will take the personal chattels absolutely. The personal chattels are defined as tangible movable property other than money or securities for money or property used at the death of the intestate wholly or mainly for business purposes or held as an investment.

In addition, the surviving spouse receives a fixed net sum of £250,000 (this can be varied in future calculated according to a formula contained in the Act) and half the residuary estate in trust absolutely.

This is an improvement for the surviving spouse or civil partner, who previously had a statutory legacy of £250,000 and a life interest in (the income generated by) half of the residuary estate.

There are also amendments to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 where a person has been treated as a child of the family.

Article from ACCA