If you haven’t got around to writing a will because you think that all your assets will automatically be left to your nearest and dearest, then you might need to think again. When you die without leaving a will this is referred to as dying ‘intestate’ and this means that the law will determine where your estate goes.
One in three people in the UK die without making a will and if you join them by not making a will, you risk the following happening:
Partners get nothing
If you are not married or in a civil partnership then your partner may not get anything, as your children, parents or siblings will inherit your estate instead. So, if you want to leave everything or anything to your partner, you really must write a will (or get married but writing a will is usually cheaper!)
Assets go to the wrong people
Without a will in place to show how you want your assets to be distributed, the people you love could miss out on money or sentimental belongings that you wanted specific people to inherit will go to someone else. If you are married but separated, your inheritance could go to your spouse as you are still legally classed as married until you get a divorce.
Inheritance tax could be higher
When you make a will and get the advice of legal experts then you can often pay less inheritance tax than if you have no will in place.
Your children might get nothing
If you are married and you don’t leave a will then everything will go to your spouse, which could leave your children with nothing. If you want to leave some money or belongings to your children, you should write a will to ensure it happens how you would wish.
The law stipulates that your spouse/civil partner receives your personal possessions, the first £250,000 of your estate and half of anything that remains, with your children getting the other half. That means that if your estate is valued at under £250,000, your children receive nothing. If you have step-children, they will legally not be entitled to a share of the half.
Your estate could go to the Crown or the government
If you have no living relatives then your entire estate could end up being passed over to the Crown or the government.
Children under 18 cared for by the wrong guardian
If you have children under the age of 18 (and there is no other parent alive), they could end up being cared for by people that you hadn’t intended. When you write your will, you can name the guardians you intend to look after the child after talking to them about it and deciding what is best for your child’s upbringing.
Make sure that your loved ones don’t miss out on what you want to leave them by arranging an appointment with an experienced wills solicitor at Hill and Company here: http://d36.co/13Bb1