Where there's no Will

NEW rules give a better deal to spouses whose partner dies without leaving a will. 

From February 1st, the amount married couples and those in civil partnerships with children can receive under the intestacy rules - which are used when there is no will - is to double from £125,000 to £250,000.

The sum could include the value of the home, depending on how it is owned.

Spouses and partners can also have the income from half the rest of the estate and personal belongings, with the children inheriting the rest.  If there are no children, the husband, wife or civil partner can inherit £450,000 - it was £200,000 - personal belongings and half of the rest of the estate.

The balance will be shared among the deceased's parents.  If the parents are dead, brothers, sister or their children inherit.

Those who are not married or in a civil partnership aren't entitled to anything, though the Law Commission is consulting on whether this should be changed.

You can apply to the courts to make some provision from the estate if you relied on the deceased for financial support under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

To avoid becoming entangled in intestacy rules, have a will written by a solicitor.