The_ perils_ of_ dying_ without_ a_ Will
Life is busy sometimes. However, you still find time to plan and book holidays, or book the car in for a service or set your diary to attend your children’s school events. But what about planning for your family’s future? What about making a Will?
It is estimated that over half of all UK adults don’t have a Will. If you’re one of these people, you need to read on.
When someone dies without leaving a valid Will it is referred to as ‘dying intestate’ or ‘intestacy’. When this happens, your estate (i.e. your property, goods and chattels) will be shared out according to the law of intestacy, which may not be as you had wished for.
The consequences of not having a Will
Depending on your personal circumstances, dying without leaving a Will can create serious problems for those left behind.
The intestacy rules vary slightly depending on where you live in the UK, but there certain points which are the same regardless of your location. So, if you:
- are married or in a civil partnership at the time of death your partner is legally entitled to inherit;
- live together, but are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner would not be able to inherit. However, if you jointly owned your home as ‘beneficial joint tenants’, your partner would automatically inherit your share of the property. NB. If you owned your property as ‘tenants in common’ they may not be allowed to inherit the property;
- are married or in a civil partnership, your husband or wife may inherit most or all of your estate, but your children may not receive anything;
- are legally separated, but not divorced, your partner could still inherit your estate;
- have children or grandchildren, you have no control over what they will inherit. Where you have grandchildren or great-grandchildren, they may not be entitled to inherit anything if their parents or grandparents are still alive when you die;
- want to bequeath part of your estate to friends, distant relatives or perhaps charities, they will not be entitled to anything if you die intestate.
Ultimately, if you do not have any living close relatives your whole estate will become the property of the Crown.
As you can see, the issues arising from not having a Will can be very complex.
Make a Will now to prevent unnecessary heartache in the future
Dying without a Will can cause significant financial and emotional hardship to your family and loved ones. Making a Will means that your wishes will be acted upon in the event of your death and that your loved ones will benefit from your estate in the way you intended.
Frequently we see stories in the media about people who have died without leaving a Will and the aftermath of this. Families falling out, the probate process taking years to finalise and solicitors taking significant fees out of the estate as they try to wrap everything up. Is that what you want to happen when you die?
At Silver Levene we can discuss what you need to consider when writing a Will, making sure it covers all aspects of your personal and business lives, taking into account your inheritance tax planning strategies. We can also review your existing Will to make sure it is still fit for purpose. At the point when you are ready to write a Will we can refer you to our recommended Will Writers who will draft the Will to accurately reflect your wishes.
Making a Will
An overview of what to include in your Will and when to seek professional advice can be found at www.gov.uk/make-will.
Contact our professionals