Inheritance – New Law

By:  Jeanette Berry – an Associate and Head of Private Client at Garricks Solicitors LLP and can be contacted at jb@garrickslaw.co.uk

Inheritance – New Law.

Recent new laws recognise that family units are no longer in the traditional model…

The Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 (“the Act”) comes into force on 1 October. It updates legislation dating back to 1925 when family models were a little different from today’s.

As well as providing greater security for the spouse of someone who dies without a will (intestate), the Act can also serve to ensure that any unmarried parents of a deceased child, whose name is on the birth certificate, can have rights under intestacy that they would not have had previously. This not only applies to unmarried fathers but these days can also apply to someone born as a result of fertility treatment after 6 April 2009 who may have parents of the same sex.

Previously anyone who wanted to make a claim as a dependant of the deceased had to show that the deceased contributed financially more to the relationship than they did (i.e. more than 50%). The new test may be much easier to pass as it concentrates on whether or not the deceased made a substantial contribution to the needs of the claimant.

Currently anyone making a claim as a child of the family could only do so if the relationship had arisen as a result of marriage and they had been treated as a child of the family in relation to that marriage. This has now been updated. Where the child had been treated as a child of the family, by their deceased parent’s partner (as opposed to spouse) the child can make a claim when the partner dies as though they were their child.

However, the new legislation still doesn’t offer the certainty and peace of mind which comes from a well drafted will and those who think they may be affected should seek further advice on their current family status.

Jeanette Berry is an Associate and Head of Private Client at Garricks Solicitors LLP and can be contacted at jb@garrickslaw.co.uk