Every year thousands of people die without making a Will, perhaps thinking that their home and their money will simply pass to their partner or children. However, the legal position is not that straightforward – if someone dies without a Will, there are rules setting out how their money, property and possessions should be divided. In many cases this won’t be what the person who has died would have chosen.
Here are some examples of how the rules apply:
Example 1 – married or in a civil partnership
Although you might think that everything will pass to your spouse or civil partner, this may not be the case depending on the value of your estate.
Example 2 – separated
If you have informally separated but not divorced or legally ended your civil partnership, your spouse or civil partner would inherit some or all of your estate even if you don’t live together.
Example 3 – cohabiting
If you are not married or in a civil partnership with your partner, he or she will not automatically receive anything – even if you have been together for many years. There is a set order in which your family members would inherit. These may be people who you would not want to benefit, who you have not been in contact with for many years, or who you don’t even know exist.
This could also mean financial problems for your partner, who may decide to bring a claim against your estate. This is likely to cause stress, delay and expense.
What if I don’t want these rules to apply to my estate?
These rules are not suitable for everyone - whether you are married, in a civil partnership, single or cohabiting. To discuss making a Will to ensure that your loved ones are protected, please contact Sarah Collier on 01937 543961.