What happens if I don’t have a Will?
Losing a loved one is a very difficult time for us all. However, it can help ease some of the processes if you have a Will in place to instruct how your property and possessions should be distributed. The benefit of leaving a Will means it can prevent unnecessary distress at an already difficult time for your family or friends.
None of us like to think about the inevitable, but what should happen if you die without a Will? If you do not have a Will in place then the law will decide who gets what and how much. This means that regardless of your personal relationships with your family and friends, it will not be reflected in the distribution of your possessions.
Your property could go to someone who you had not intended to receive any of your estate. It could also mean that someone who you had wanted to pass things on to could go with nothing.
If you die without a valid Will, this is called “intestacy” or “dying intestate”. When this occurs the law in place does differ in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, however there are some common rules across the board such as;
- If you are not married and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die.
- If you are married, your husband or wife might inherit most, or all of your estate and your children may not be entitled to anything. This will still apply if you are separated but not yet divorced.
- Any Inheritance Tax that your estate must pay might be higher than it would be if you had made a Will.
- If you die with no living close relatives, your whole estate will belong to the Crown or to the Government. This law is called Bona Vacantia.
- Any assets that you own jointly with someone will not pass under the intestacy rules but will pass by survivorship to the surviving joint owner. However, for survivorship to apply, you must own the asset as ‘joint tenants’ and not as ‘tenants in common’.
Interesting Fact: A total of £8 million in money and property went to the Government last year because people didn’t leave a Will.
Taking the time to write a Will is such an important thing to do, to ensure that your loved ones are left with some sentimental trinkets that can help keep your memory alive. If this is something that you feel you would like some advice about then please feel free to contact our helpful team who will be more than happy to assist you through the process.
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