I have been instructed to apply for letters of administration where the deceased died in 2004 intestate and the estate has not been administered. The deceased was survived by a spouse and adult children all of whom are still alive.
I am trying to establish whether the residuary estate will be mostly absorbed by the statutory legacy payable to the surviving spouse. Both Tristram & Cootes and Practical Law suggest that to determine this, the value of the estate at the date of payment or appropriation should be used as opposed to the value at the date of death. I have not, however, been able to find any legislative authority or case law to support this position.
In 2004 the value of the estate marginally exceeded the £125,000 statutory legacy so the children would have received a relatively small interest in the estate.
Due to a significant increase in property values the estate now exceeds £450,000. If the 2004 intestacy rules must be applied to the current values, the spouse will receive a much smaller share of the estate simply because they delayed administering the estate. This seems quite a harsh punishment for their delay.
I would be grateful if anyone can provide a source to justify the position outlined in Tristram & Cootes (31st ed p280) or clarification as to why this treatment is correct.
Glaisyers Solicitors LLP