Whilst for those that have a Will in place, this blog will not necessarily apply, for those who do not it is important to consider what would happen to your estate should you die “intestate” (without a Will).
Where a person dies without a Will a set of rules, known as the intestacy rules will apply and they specify who will inherit your estate in a specific order:
1. Spouse or Civil partner
2. Children (or Grandchildren)
4. Brothers and Sisters
6. Uncles and Aunts
Under the intestacy rules, if you are married or in a civil partnership at the time of your death, the first £270,000 of your estate plus any personal possessions will pass to your husband or wife or civil partner. This is known as the statutory legacy. This was increased on 6th February 2020 from £250,000. If your estate is worth over the statutory legacy then this could result in your husband or wife only receiving a life interest in the remainder of your estate. This can be very complicated and upsetting for the person left behind. If you die without a spouse, civil partner or children, then the entire estate will pass to the next surviving category of relatives. This could have wider implications than intended e.g. unintended beneficiaries, financial provision or perhaps even tax liabilities.
The rules also determine who will administer your estate (i.e. deal with payment of inheritance tax and distributions to beneficiaries).
By making a Will you will have peace of mind that your Executors will have control of your estate, deal with formalities and distribute it to your loved ones, stepchildren, unmarried partners, friends and other organisations that are important to you who would not otherwise benefit under the intestacy rules.
If you would like to review your Will or discuss estate planning generally, please contact our office 01256 320555 and we can offer you a complimentary 30 minute appointment to see me or one of my colleagues in the Wills and Estate Planning Team.
Wills & Estate Planning Solicitor