If you die without leaving a valid Will, then the law decides how your estate is distributed, regardless of any wishes you had or promises you made during your lifetime.
The Intestacy Rules
If you are married, or registered civil partners, and have children
If your estate is worth less than £250,000 then your husband or wife gets everything.
If your estate is worth more than £250,000 then your husband or wife will get £250,000, all personal belongings and one half of everything over this sum. Your children would be entitled to the other half of the sum over £250,000, equally between them if more than one, held on trust until they are 18. Should any of your children die before you, then their children would be entitled to take their parent’s share
If you are married or civil partners and have no children
Your husband or wife receives your entire estate.
If you are not married but have had children
Your estate will be shared between your children equally but it will be held on trust until they are 18.
If you are not married and have no children but do have surviving relatives
Your estate goes to your relatives, depending on who survives you, in this order of priority: parents; brothers / sisters; half brothers / sisters; grandparents;
aunts / uncles; half aunts / uncles.
If you are not married and have no other relatives
Your estate will go to the Crown.
The intestacy rules do not recognise “common law” partners, and “children” includes adopted and illegitimate children but not stepchildren.
Everyone should have Will, but it is of exceptional importance if:
- you have been married more than once;
- you have young children for whom guardians should be appointed;
- you want to provide for a child who is not your own;
- you are separated or divorcing;
- you run a business and wish to plan for succession.
Making a Will is the only way to make sure that your wishes are carried out after your death. We offer a bespoke Will-making service, and we ensure that we take the time to discuss all aspects of your assets and potential estate before we start to prepare your Will. We are happy to answer any questions you may have relating to inheritance tax and trusts, legacies and residuary gifts. We will provide you with a draft of your Will and explain it fully to you, giving you the peace of mind of knowing that your estate will be handled in the way you wish if the worst were to happen.
To discuss this and to obtain more information contact:
Emily Payne at Dickins Hopgood Chidley Solicitors,
The Old School House, 42 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0NF 01488 683555