If You Die Without Making A Will
If you die without making a Will there is a set order of priority as to who receives your estate. This is called the rules of intestacy. Intestacy is unlikely to divide your estate as you would wish.
If any of the following circumstances apply to you, the intestacy rules may not cater for your situation in the way you would wish:
- You and your partner are living together but are not legally married or in a civil partnership but wish your partner to inherit some or all of your estate.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and wish for all your estate to go to your spouse/civil partner. Only the first £250,000 of your estate goes to your husband or wife (if you have children) or £400,000 (if you do not have children). This can leave a complicated arrangement where a trust has to be set up for the rest of the money.
- You have no living relatives and wish to leave your estate to your friends or to charity (the Crown may take your estate if you die leaving no will and no surviving relatives).
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and do not wish for your spouse/civil partner to inherit anything.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and do not have children. If the first spouse dies and everything does go to the other when the survivor dies their estate would just go to their side of the family.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and have children from a previous relationship and you wish to ensure that your children receive something from your estate.
- You have a dependant relative (e.g. children under 18, elderly relatives or relatives with a disability who have special needs) and you want to make sure they are looked after and provided for. (If you make a will you can appoint guardians to look after your children and set up trusts in your will to provide for dependants).
- Your estate is large and may be liable for Inheritance Tax and you may wish to make arrangements for tax planning.