Intestacy

Wills & ProbateIt is extremely important to make a will to ensure your wishes are carried out upon your death. You can provide for the people you choose and who are most important to you.

We can ensure that adequate provisions are incorporated into your will to provide for your family members and for certain specific wishes to be carried, i.e. whether you wish to be buried or cremated.

The consequences of not making a Will can be very significant. If a person dies without having made a Will their estate will be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules laid down by Parliament in 1925.

If you die intestate (without making a will) the following rules of intestacy will apply:

Scenario 1- You are married and your estate is worth less than £250,000

Under the Intestacy Rules, your surviving spouse gets everything.

Scenario 2- You are married, your estate is worth more than £250,000 but you don’t have any surviving relatives.

Again under the Intestacy Rules, your surviving spouse gets it all.

Scenario 3- You are married, your estate is worth more than £250,000 and you have children.

Under the Intestacy Rules, it now starts to get complicated and potentially problematic for the surviving spouse. The first £250,000 will go to the spouse but they will only get a life interest in half of whatever is left over. The other half will go to the children immediately with the rest following when the life interest ends on the death of the spouse.

If any child should pre-decease you, then their own children (your grandchildren), would get their parent’s share.

Scenario 4- You are married, your estate is worth more than £250,000, you don’t have children but you do have surviving relatives.

Under the Intestacy Rules, the surviving spouse’s automatic share goes up to £450,000. Half of anything left over also goes to the spouse. The other half goes to the surviving relatives in this order:

    • Parents
    • Brothers or sisters or their children
    • Half Brothers or sisters or their children
    • Grandparents
    • Uncles or aunts or their children
    • Half uncles and aunts or their children

Scenario 5- You are not married but have children

Under the Intestacy Rules your children will inherit. Again, if a child has pre-deceased you, then their children will get their parent’s share

Scenario 6- You are not married and have no children

Under the Intestacy Rules, your surviving relatives will inherit in the following order:

    • Parents
    • Brothers or sisters or their children
    • Half brother or sisters or their children
    • Grandparents
    • Uncles or aunts or their children
    • Half uncles and aunts or their children

Scenario 7- If you have no surviving parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles or aunts then under the Intestacy Rules, everything will go to the Crown!

It is also crucial to remember that The Intestacy Rules do not recognise unmarried “common law” partners. The effect of the Intestacy Rules can be inequitable and unfair, especially for surviving spouses. Surviving dependants may be entitled to seek more adequate provisions by making a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

It may also be the case that you wish to leave a specific legacy (gift) to other relatives, a friend or a charity, if these wishes are not detailed in a Will then the rules of Intestacy do not allow for such gifts to be made.

It is also important to appoint guardians for your children and choose the people you know will be able to administer you estate in accordance with your wishes.

We look at all the surrounding issues regarding making your will such as Inheritance tax and if you own any property, what type of ownership you have and whether that is the most tax efficient way. We also discuss stipulating the age at which any children should inherit and whether a Trust needs to be set up.

When making a will we also discuss how to ensure that none of your assets are missed and how to organise yourself to make it easier on the person that needs to administer your estate. This will also keep the Probate costs low.

 

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