The impact of joint assets on the Legal Right Share

21 May 2021


Just a quick reminder……

The legal right share of the spouse is calculated on the net estate. The net estate is the gross estate taking away costs, liabilities and expenses. Its important to remember that joint assets do not form part of the gross estate. So even if a spouse has obtained the family home by means of survivorship, this is not deemed as a contribution to the legal right share. The spouse is still entitled to one third of the remaining estate. Similarly if assets pass by nomination, whether to the spouse or to third parties, then this does not form part of the estate for calculation of the legal right share.

Further the estate may be left to the spouse for life. However, if the spouse is elderly in taking the estate, it is unlikely to equate to one third of the value. Therefore the spouse can elect to take the life interest or the legal right share.