Intestacy Rules: The Importance of Making a Will
The main purpose of making a Will is to ensure that those for whom you wish to provide will benefit from your estate.
If you do not make a Will when you die the ‘Intestacy Rules’ will determine what happens to your personal possessions, money and all other assets held in your sole name.
Problems that arise if you do not make a Will
- Your spouse or civil partner might not automatically inherit your entire estate. Your spouse or Civil Partner will be entitled to your personal chattels and a ‘statutory legacy’ of the first £250,000.00. If your estate is valued at more than £250,000 and you have children/grandchildren then your spouse/civil partner will receive the first £250,000 and half of the remainder of the estate and any children/grandchildren will receive the other half.
- Divorce or separation – estranged spouses and civil partners are still entitled under the Intestacy Rules to inherit from your estate.
- Co-habiting the person you live with will not be entitled to a share of your estate. The term common law wife/husband holds no weight in English law and your cohabitee will not be automatically entitled to inherit anything from your estate.
- Children from Previous Relationships – if you are in a second marriage/civil partnership and have children from a previous relationship they may end up being disinherited particularly where the estate is valued at less than £250,000. By making your Will you can ensure that provision is made that suits both your spouse/civil partner/cohabitee and your children or any other family members.
- Estate passes to the Crown– Under the Intestacy Rules if you are unmarried and have no close relatives your Estate will automatically pass to the Crown if you do not have a Will.
- Inheritance Tax– if you do not make a Will and your estate is valued at over £250,000 the distribution of your estate imposed by the Intestacy Rules could result in an immediate Inheritance liability as assets would not pass to exempt beneficiaries such as charities or spouses/civil partners.
- Preparing a Will provides you with an opportunity to ensure that your estate has been gifted and structured in the most tax efficient manner possible.
For further information or to make an appointment please contact Genevieve Gallagher on 0207 408 8896