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What Happens If You Don’t Make A Will?

It’s understandably not a topic that many of us want to discuss, but it’s important for our loved ones, that we make our wishes known and legally unenforceable. Not only does it saves a lot of time, money and stress, but it also provides us with the peace of mind that our wishes are listened to and communicated, and our family and friends receive what we would like them to.

30 June 2016
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Without a will, it becomes the law’s decision who gets what assets and how those are divided between them. Conversations with loved ones that are not supported in a legally binding will can lead to friction and fall-out. Avoid all ambiguity by making a will that outlines all your wishes to avoid any confusion.

When a person dies without having made a will, this is called intestacy. While the law varies depending on whether you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, there are several common rules that apply to any persons who die without making a will:

  • Unmarried or not in a civil partnership - If a person dies without having married or entering into a civil partnership with their partner then without a will, your partner is not entitled to anything when you die.

  • Married - Even if you are married, although it is your husband or wife who will inherit the majority of your estate, this is still true even if you are no longer with your partner and are separated but not legally divorced. Therefore, it is vital that an updated will reflects your wishes.

  • Children and Grandchildren - Without a will, the amount of money or assets your loved ones are entitled to depends on where you live in the UK, not what your verbal wishes were. Creating and producing a will avoids this uncertainty.

  • Inheritance Tax-  Those dreaded words that have frequently appeared in the media in recent years. Without a will, you may have to pay a higher rate of inheritance tax on your estate.

  • Bona Vacantia law - this refers to a person who dies, without making a will and who doesn't have any close relatives alive. In this scenario, the entire estate belongs to the Crown or the government.

If a loved dies without a will, then a person can apply to become the administrator of the estate. Typically, you can apply for a grant of representation to become the administrator of the estate if you’re the person’s spouse or civil partner, or child. Again, you can still apply for this if you were separated from the person, but cannot if you’re their common law partner and not legally married or in a civil partnership.

It’s important to make a will to ensure that what you really want to happen after you die does, and that your family and friends receive what you assets you would like them to.

If you would like any help or advice on wills or you would like to create a will, our estate planning solicitors are experts in this area. Or, if you are worried about LPA, our power of attorney lawyers can help. then please contact Guillaumes today, where one of our team will be happy to help you.