What happens to your property and estate if no Will has been left?
Choosing not to make a Will means choosing what is known as the rules of intestacy. These rules are set by the Government and unfortunately it is very rare they follow the wishes of the individual. They are only really appropriate in ‘standard’ families where you are married and have joint children, with no children from earlier relationships. Even then, the intestacy rules will cause problems when an estate is worth over a certain amount.
The intestacy rules have a devastating effect on unmarried couples. They mean your unmarried partner will not receive a penny from your estate and instead it will go to your biological children or, if you have no children, to your closest family member e.g. a sister or brother. This is not to mention the fact that by not making a Will you are missing the valuable opportunity of appointing a guardian for your children.
How can writing a Will help your family?
We recently had a client who signed his Will on a Friday and then unexpectedly lost his life that very weekend.
Our client had made a very fair and sensible Will. In his Will a sum of money was left to his wife and he expressed his funeral wishes. He also has a business that was reliant on him and that would need to be sold, his account and solicitor has first-hand knowledge of his business so he appointed them as executors (the person who deals with your estate administration when you die). Finally, he left the balance of his estate in a Trust for his daughter until she reached the age of 25.
This is of course a very rare and unfortunate circumstance but it just goes to show that there is no time like the present. We can’t predict what’s around the corner but we can take control to make sure our affairs are in order, so that our families are left with peace of mind should the inevitable happen sooner than we expect.
It’s easier than you think to get started, begin writing your Will today by answering the questions above.