by Denise Crispin-Bailey, Richardson’s Wills
Many people are of the belief that if they die without making a Will, any assets they own including property, money and any savings, will automatically go to their spouse and children. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. If you die without making a Will, your estate will be dealt with according to the laws of the intestacy as follows;
If you die intestate leaving behind a spouse or civil partner and children, then your estate will be distributed as follows:
Estate under £270,000:
• Your spouse will inherit everything.
Estate over £270,000:
• The spouse will receive all personal chattels (these are ‘tangible movable assets’ such as jewellery and furniture), a legacy of £270,000, and half of what remains of the estate.
• The children will receive the other half of the estate.
This may not be appropriate and loses the inheritance tax benefits afforded to married couples. It may also be inappropriate to you if you and your spouse have informally separated.
If you die intestate leaving behind an unmarried partner and children, your children will inherit your entire estate. The rules make no provision for an unmarried partner or cohabitant, so if you are not married to your partner they will be left with no provision from your estate unless they apply to the courts for provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants Act) 1975.
Example: Angela has been in a relationship with her partner John for 20 years. They live together but have chosen not to marry. They have no children. Angela dies intestate, so her estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy. As she was not married to Barry he does not inherit under her intestacy. There are no children, and she has no parents living, so her estate is distributed to her only sister.
Making a will is the best way to avoid any unintended and unfair consequences.
For a free review of your existing Will or to make a Will call 01904 501910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.