One of the things we ask all our clients is do you have a will. We find that many people do not have a will. However, we believe this is a very important aspect of your financial plan. If something happens to you would you be happy with your estate being distributed by a way which is defined by the law?
This is a question you need to ask yourself if you haven’t got a valid will set up. Without a will your assets would be distributed along with the laws of intestacy. This is a set of very rigid rules which will mean your estate is given out in the following order; spouse or civil partner, children/grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents then uncles and aunts. With the highest prioritised person taking the majority (up to £250,000 plus personal possessions).
So, what are the consequence of dying intestate (with no valid will)? If you are not married or in a civil partnership your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die. Unless assets are jointly owned then they will be passed by survivorship to the surviving owner, but only if the asset is held as “joint tenants”.
On the other hand, if you are married but you have children, your estate would mostly go to your spouse and your children might not get anything. Most people would like to ensure their children or grandchildren also inherit on their death, perhaps you would like monies to be put in trust for their 21st birthday. A will can help you to do this, meaning you can have your estate divided up specifically as you would like.
Something that not many people know is that if you do not make a will and you die with no living close relatives your whole estate will belong to the crown or to the government. I know if it was me, I would prefer to name a close friend or even a charity in my will so that I knew my hard earned assets went to a worthy cause.
Sammy McCann BSc (Hons) Cert CII (MP)
28th October 2019