Intestacy: The statutory legacy increase

From 6 February 2020 the statutory legacy has increased from £250,000 to £270,000.

This is the amount a surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to receive when a person dies without making a valid will (known as intestacy) leaving children.

The rules of intestacy provide that the estate is distributed in a particular way depending on the surviving family and the amount of the estate.

If the deceased had no children the whole estate will still pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner. The statutory legacy will not apply.

If the deceased had children, the surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit the deceased`s personal property, the statutory legacy of £270,000 and 50% of the remainder. The remaining 50% passes to the children equally.

If the deceased is unmarried, with no children, the intestacy rules provide for the estate to pass in a particular hierarchy: parents first, and if no surviving parents, to brothers and sisters (or remoter descendants). There is no provision for cohabitees, step-children or close friends.

The increase in the statutory legacy is in line with the consumer price index and is generally welcomed but is no substitute for making a valid will.

Relying on the intestacy rules may result in your estate passing to different beneficiaries and not in the way you intended, could lead to additional inheritance tax being paid (if part of the estate passes to children and is not covered by the spouse exemption), and increases the risk of a claim against the estate by disappointed beneficiaries.

If you wish to discuss how the intestacy rules could affect your estate, the importance of estate planning to ensure your wishes are followed and how to minimise inheritance tax, please contact our probate lawyers today

Partner retires to pursue motorsports

The New Year has brought several changes at Rutherfords LLP including the busy commercial property department.

Partner David Waterhouse has now stepped down from being an equity member of the firm and becomes a consultant solicitor in the commercial department.

David will continue to service clients in the Tamworth and North Birmingham areas, but freed of the responsibility to manage the business, David has more time for the pursuit of his hobbies and interests.

A keen motor racing enthusiast from an early age, David has competed at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, the Formula 1 Circuit at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and regularly enters the Oakamoor Hill Climb Revival in Staffordshire for veteran, vintage or classic cars with a variety of vehicles including his modified MG roadster.

David now competes in the annual Malta Classic driving his 1961 Turner A Series Mark II, shattering the peace in the otherwise silent city of Mdina.

Fundraising for St Giles Hospice

The private client team have been busy fund-raising for the local St Giles Hospice.

The `Make a Will` promotion requires clients to make a suggested donation for a standard will with 100% of the donations passed on to the Hospice.

This year Rutherfords LLP were appointed as the only panel solicitors for Tamworth.

Meeting Corporate Fundraiser Sam Nicolson in December to hand over the cheque for £3,760.

From left to right: Tony Illsley, Rebecca Taylor, Sam Nicolson (St Giles), Sarah Hassall and Natasha Bartosik.

Newly Qualified Solicitor

We are delighted to announce that Lauren Henderson has completed her training contract with Rutherfords LLP and qualified as a solicitor on 15 January 2020.

Lauren joined Rutherfords LLP as a paralegal in 2015 after graduating with a law degree and then started her training contract in 2017. Lauren has now successfully completed both a masters degree (LL.M) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

The time spent during the training period with the firm has enabled Lauren to qualify in her chosen area of law, and she has now joined the busy corporate and commercial team headed by partner Claire Poulton.

We welcome Lauren and wish her a very successful career at Rutherfords LLP.

Rutherfords LLP retains accreditation with Conveyancing Quality Scheme

Rutherfords LLP are proud to announce that we have retained our longstanding membership with the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme for the next year. This is a mark of excellence for the home buying process. This involves a rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process.

Amanda Edwards (Head of the Residential Department at Rutherfords LLP) says: “We are delighted to have secured CQS status. It is recognition of the high standards we provide to our residential property clients and is a signal to future home buyers of the excellent service level we provide at what is often a stressful time for many people”.

The scheme requires practices to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training, self reporting, random audits and annual reviews in order to maintain CQS status. It is open only to members of the Law Society who meet the demanding standards set by the scheme and has the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association, Legal Ombudsman and the Association of British Insurers.

Law Society President, John Wotton, said that the Law Society introduced CQS to promote high standards in the home buying process.

“CQS improves efficiency with common, consistent standards and service levels and enables consumers to recognise practices that provide a quality residential conveyancing service.

“Buying a home is one of the largest purchases anyone will make in their lifetime, so it is essential that it is done to the highest standard by a solicitor. There are many different conveyancing service providers out there, making it difficult for home buyers to identify those which can ensure a safe and efficient level of service.”

For more information on the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme visit

If you would like a quotation for any property matters then please call our Residential Department on 01827 311411.

Rutherfords settle Catastrophic Personal Injury Claim

Our client sustained significant crush injuries to his leg when a concrete barrier fell onto his leg whilst at work. Several attempts were made by the surgeons to save the leg but unfortunately it was necessary for a below the knee amputation to take place. 

We represented the client from a few weeks after his accident, assisting in managing his recovery and negotiating with all aspects of his injury claim and recovery. In addition, his employer went into voluntary liquidation shortly after the accident which caused issues which had to be resolved. 

Fortunately the insurers admitted liability for the accident at an early stage. The client required substantial interim payments during his recovery. The insurers refused to make a significant interim payment and Rutherfords made a formal application to Court to force payment.  This application was successful and an interim payment made in the middle of the case at six figures.

The case was resolved shortly after the issue of proceedings with damages in excess of £1m.

Fortunately significant injury cases are uncommon. For instance, employers, generally, have better safety procedures and persons injured in road traffic accidents, generally, tend to be better protected by their vehicle.  However, serious injuries still sometimes occur and when this does happen the injured party needs to have representation by a solicitor who has experience in dealing with these complex cases and also an understanding of the needs of the injured party.

Steve Wengraf, the litigation partner at Rutherfords has in excess of 25 years’ experience in dealing with personal injury claims, including lower value claims and catastrophic injury claims. Rutherfords are the only firm in Tamworth who deal with personal injury claims. 

If you require any assistance or advice please don’t hesitate to contact Steve on 01827 311411 or [email protected]

Fundraising for St Giles Hospice

Rutherfords LLP has been raising funds for St Giles Hospice as part of the “Make your Will Fortnight” between Monday 1st to Friday 12th October.

The firm has raised £1,800 for the local hospice.

Rutherfords LLP waived their standard fees for preparing a will in return for a donation to St Giles.

St Giles Hospice is a registered charity providing individually-tailored care for patients living with cancer, motor neurone disease, heart failure, multiple sclerosis and other serious illnesses. The dedicated team at St Giles provides specialist care free of charge either at the hospice or at home.

It costs St Giles Hospice £9 million to deliver the care services each year, and although one third of the running costs are provided by the NHS, the remainder is from donations and fund-raising initiatives.

Partner Tony Illsley at Rutherfords LLP said “We understand the importance of raising funds for this local hospice by encouraging clients to make a donation or leaving a legacy in their will. This is an ideal opportunity to receive expert advice to ensure that your affairs are in order by making a new will. Rutherfords LLP are delighted to again be appointed to the panel of solicitors to raise funds for St Giles”.

Particular thanks to the Private Client Team at Rutherfords LLP: SarahRebeccaNatashaEmily & Jayne.

We offer a wide range of private client services including standard wills, property trust wills and discretionary trust wills, estate planning & tax advice, probate and estate administration, lasting powers of attorney and deputyship applications to the Court of Protection.

Call 01827 311411 or email [email protected] or see the Wills, Probate and Inheritance Tax section of our website

Photograph: Solicitor Tony Illsley head of the private client department at Rutherfords LLP with Philippa Graty, senior corporate fundraiser at St Giles Hospice