What happens if you die without a will?
If you die without a will then your estate is intestate. This can be disastrous for those you love. It means all of your assets are administered in accordance with the Administration of Estates Act 1925, an Act of Parliament, signed into law by George V. Attitudes as to who should get what and when were very different in 1925. Women had only just got the vote.
If you die without a will you have no control over how or when your estate is inherited. If you are in a relationship but not married or you are single and live alone then the consequences can be dire.
If you are married and have children
Your spouse inherits the first £250,000 of your assets and half of the balance. The other half will go to your children when they are 18. This can result in the surviving spouse not owning all the family home and children inheriting money at an age when they have no experience of dealing with large amounts of it. Do you want your hard-earned money being spent in the purchase of fast cars and expensive holidays? Or your child being taken advantage of by a Gold Digger? (of either sex).
What can be done?
If your spouse wishes to do anything about this, they may be faced with court proceedings which are time consuming, expensive and extremely damaging to family relationships.
Living together but not married
The surviving partner inherits NOTHING. If there are any children, then all of the assets will pass to them. If there are no children, the entire estate will pass to the nearest living blood relatives. People you may not know or like. If your partner wishes to receive anything then again, they can be faced with lengthy and expensive court proceedings.
Is making a will a good idea?
1. You can plan for the future of your spouse/partner and ensure that they receive sufficient assets tomanage with matters after your death.
2. You can ensure children only inherit assets at an age when they are capable of properly managing them.
3. You can look at creating a will trust for children who will never be able to manage money
4. You can make sure that assets are fairly divided and contingences taken care of. For example, in a second marriage or where you live with a partner you may want to provide in your will that they may continue to live in your house after your death but following their death the property will pass to your children. Funds can be applied for children’s benefits in the form of their maintenance and education without them having outright access to the money.
5. You can appoint testamentary guardians who can look after your children after your death.
6. You get to choose who administers your estate.
7. By taking legal advice you can be aware of the implications of Inheritance Tax and look at ways in which you can reduce the amount of tax payable on your death.
8. You can be aware of the potential claims that may be made under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and the steps you can take to avoid such claims.
9. A will can avoid damaging disputes arising between you and your spouse/partner and children.
10. If you are single and have no children a will can provide for your estate to go to your friends and or charities or other causes that you support, as opposed to it passing to relatives that you never see and may even dislike.
Am I tempting fate?
The simple answer is NO. We all insure our homes against the risk of fire however they don’t burst into flames when we do.
I’m too young to make a will
Most of us will live a long life, however there are no guarantees. Its very easy to put this off but if you die without a will the consequences can be calamitous for your loved ones. DON’T DELAY.
So, who decides who gets you hard earned assets? YOU? or George V?
For more information on making a Will call or email us today for an initial free telephone consultation. Call Nigel George or Jakub Kotan on 020 8232 9560 to email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.