If you die without making a Will, it is referred to as dying “Intestate” and your Estate is divided in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.
Many people believe that if there is no Will then their Spouse or Partner will simply inherit everything however this is not the case.
Most importantly, if you and your Partner are not married, or in a Civil Partnership, then they will get nothing from your Estate, no matter how long you have been together for.
Even if you are married or in a Civil Partnership your Spouse will still not automatically get everything, especially if you have children, whether from that relationship or from a previous one.
If you have children, your Spouse will inherit all of your personal belongings together with the first £250,000 of your Estate. They will also be entitled to a life interest in half of everything else; this means they can have the benefit of half of the rest of your Estate, but they cannot have or use the capital. This capital would then pass to your children once your Spouse has died.
Obviously this could cause serious difficulties, especially if your children and your Spouse don’t get along, or if you separated unofficially.
If you are not married, but you do have children, then your Estate would pass directly to your children, which could cause significant problems for your partner.
Your grandchildren and great grandchildren will get nothing from your Estate unless their parents have predeceased you.
If you die without leaving a Spouse or children (or grandchildren) then your Estate will be divided between more remote family members in accordance with a strict order.
The effect of all of this is that your Estate could end up going to people whom you do not even know properly.
Your friends will get nothing from your Estate, and you will not be able to benefit any charities, even those you have been supporting for years. Your personal belongings may not get to the person you want to have them.
If you make a Will, you are in charge. You can set out exactly where you want your Estate to go, you can remember your friends and charities with gifts of money or personal items, you can make sure that your precious mementoes and family keepsakes go to the people who you want to have them, and, most importantly, you can ensure that your spouse or your partner is properly provided for, whether you are married to them or not.
Please call us on 0207 183 0084 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to request further information about our will writing service; we are always happy to assist. We also deal with probate and the administration of estates if you require assistance with administering the estate of a loved one who has passed away.
Ayesha Leslie, Partner
Ola Leslie Solicitors