Despite the death rate sticking at a steady 100%, over half of all UK adults don’t have a will*. Half!!! Why??? Probably because they don’t think they’re going to die…don’t want to think about dying or just don’t care because they won’t be around…….OR, is it because they assume the law will do the right thing? Read on…if you die without a will, your estate may not be dealt with in the way you would think.
Are you half of an unmarried couple?
Perhaps you have been living together for years and view yourselves as common-law husband and wife. But the term ‘common-‘law’ does not exist under estate law! Which means that the surviving partner will inherit NOTHING! That’s right – NOTHING! Blood relatives will, but not an unmarried partner.
And unless you own your house as joint tenants, the surviving partner may lose that too, to siblings. In extreme cases an estranged brother or family member may inherit instead of the lifelong unmarried partner, even if they were the one who’d paid half the bills for years and years….well, we didn’t say it was fair did we? And if the deceased had children from a previous relationship, a claim can be made on the deceased’s share of the property on their behalf as well.
Adding to that, the surviving partner will lose out on any state Bereavement Allowance as well as their partner’s state pension, even if they stayed at home to care for children and depended on their partner’s income.
You cannot inherit from your ex, although your children can. In fact, estate law treats you as if you were dead, too! Be aware – if you remarry, any existing will becomes null and void! If you die without a new will, your estate will be treated as is you had no will at all – as if you were intestate.
Married or in a Civil Partnership?
Generally, spouses or civil partners without children inherit everything. If there are children, the surviving spouse/civil partner gets the first £250,000 of the estate plus the deceased’s personal belongings, plus half of the remainder of their estate. The surviving children will inherit their share on trust until they reach the age of 18.
This may sound all well and good, but if you both die, for example in an accident, don’t you want to decide who will look after your children, and not the court? The court may choose the closest living relative, who might be the last person you would have chosen.
With a will, you’re able to:-
- Ensure your property, money and other assets go where you want them to go.
- State your funeral wishes
- Choose your children’s guardians
- Save your loved ones the pain of and financial burden of legal proceedings to do what you would have wanted anyway!
Although we don’t do wills (we act as introducers), this topic is so important we wanted to highlight it to you. If you want to talk about setting up a Life Policy that is written in Trust that will help your loved ones enormously if you die, give us a shout on 01252 217036 & we’ll have a chat…we can point you in the right direction for getting your wills sorted too.