Do you know what happens if you die without a will?
Are you aware that if you die without a will a series of long-standing legal rules will dictate who gets your estate?
To help you understand exactly what these might be (depending on your personal circumstances) they basically boil down to:
- If you die without a Will and are married or in a civil partnership and you don’t have children, all of your estate will automatically pass to your surviving spouse or civil partner.
- If you die without a Will and you have both a spouse or civil partner and children, your surviving spouse or partner will receive the ‘statutory legacy’ (currently £250,000), your personal belongings and half of their estate. The other half of the estate will be passed onto your children.
- If you die without a will and are neither married nor in a civil partnership but have children, your estate will pass to your children.
- If you die whilst separated from your spouse or civil partner, your whole estate would pass to your estranged partner unless you are divorced.
Whatever your personal circumstances are, it is more than likely that these statutory provisions will not match up with the way you would like your estate to be divided. Moreover, they may also cause practical problems for those you leave behind which, in the most extreme circumstances, may even lead to your loved ones considering court action.
One common misconception we hear repeatedly is that if you’ve living together for a long period, the cohabitee will have automatic rights to their partner’s estate should they die.
This is definitely not the case and the latest intestacy provisions – which were updated in 2014 – have not changed that.
If you are living with a partner it is vital you consider what would happen should either of you die so you can make sure the right arrangements in place and documented and reinforced legally in a valid will.
Nothing beats taking the time to consider your personal circumstances, assess your financial position and take stock of who you need and want to provide for. Once you have the answers, talk to a solicitor so they can prepare a will that meets with all of your requirements.
If you would like to discuss putting a valid will in place to make sure everything happens exactly as you want it to, please call Eilidh Jordan on 0114 290 6206 or email Eilidh at firstname.lastname@example.org.