Where there’s no will

Those of you who have either not made a will or have written one so badly it will not be valid may be interested in the new intestacy rules, which apply from today (1st October 2014).
Intestacy rules determine who inherits when someone dies without leaving a valid will. The main changes are as follows:

Where there is a surviving spouse or civil partner and offspring (child / grandchild)
Surviving spouse / civil partner will receive:
All personal assets
First £250,000 of the estate
Half of any excess over £250,000 (previously the spouse would have been entitled to a life interest only in this half share)
Children / grandchildren share the other half

Where there is a surviving spouse / civil partner, but no offspring
The surviving spouse / civil partner takes everything. Previously more remote relatives would have shared in the estate.

The rules do not safeguard the position of ‘non-official’ partners, nor stepchildren.
It is important to note that any jointly owned assets (held as joint tenants, not as tenants in common) automatically pass to the surviving holder and are excluded from the calculations for intestacy purposes.