What Happens If I Die Without Making a Will?

What Happens If I Don't Make a Will

If you die without having made a will then you miss out on having your final say as to what happens to your possessions after you die.

The official term for dying without having made a will is to die ‘intestate’ and the ‘Rules of Intestacy’, set out by the Government, are followed to dictate as to how your estate is administered after your death.

The rules vary depending on whether your estate (the total value of all your possessions including your home and all personal possessions) is valued at more or less that £250,000 and there may be variations depending on whereabouts in the UK you live.

If you are married when you die and your estate is worth less than £250,000

  • Your spouse inherits everything.

If you are married or in a Civil Partnership when you die and your estate is worth more than £250,000 then the rules are a bit more complicated. Take a look at the Government’s website to see what would happen in your situation.

Currently, the following people have no right to inherit where someone dies without leaving a will:

  • unmarried partners even if they co-habit
  • lesbian or gay partners not in a civil partnership
  • relations by marriage
  • close friends
  • carers

A child whose parents are not married or have not registered a civil partnership can inherit from the estate of a parent who dies intestate. These children can also inherit from grandparents or great-grandparents who have died intestate.

Adopted children (including step-children who have been adopted by their step-parent) have rights to inherit under the rules of intestacy. But otherwise you have to be a biological child to inherit.

Children do not receive their inheritance immediately. They receive it when they:

  • reach the age of 18, or
  • marry or form a civil partnership under this age.

Until then, trustees manage the inheritance on their behalf.

If there are no surviving relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy, the estate passes to the Crown.

With around 40% of the UK thought not to have made a will the Rules of Intestacy will in these cases be adhered to.

Making a will ensures that your wishes are properly taken into consideration and will make life easier for those you leave behind. Just some of the advantages include;

  • Making gifts of possession and money
  • Express your wishes for your funeral
  • Inheritance tax planning
  • Appoint legal guardians for children under 18 and expressed wishes about any pets
  • Name executors of your will
  • Leave money to a charity or organisation you are passionate about

It is also important to review your will regularly and keep it up to date.

If you like to see an Adviser to see about making a will simply complete the form below and we will get back to you shortly.

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