What Happens if You Don’t Have a Will?
When someone passes away without making a will, a strict process comes into operation to govern the distribution of your assets. The main concern our will solicitors in Brighton have about this process is people have no say in the break up of their possessions. In some cases, this results in people’s estates ending up with a distant relative or the government.
Below are some consequences if you don’t have a will:
- Your husband, wife or civil partner will not automatically receive all of your assets. As a result, your loved ones could face financial difficulties.
- Claims by any other potential beneficiaries under the intestacy rules will potentially mean the selling of the family home.
- Unmarried partners will receive nothing. Distant relatives or the government may inherit your estate.
- No undertakings on tax-saving measures.
In addition, the more extensive the contents of your estate, the more complicated the process becomes if you don’t have a will. A business owner without a will, for example, leaves a wide variety of complications to be dealt with after the death.
The break up of your estate when there is no will present will follow the intestacy rules protocol. If you don’t have a will, you will not be able to divide up your estate in any way that differs from the intestacy rules.
What are the Intestacy Rules?
If you don’t have a will and die leaving a husband, wife or civil partner and children, then your partner is entitled to all of your personal belongings as well as a lump sum of £250,000. The remaining balance of the estate is then equally divided between your children and your partner.
If you die leaving a spouse or civil partner and no children, then your spouse or civil partner will receive the whole estate.
If you do not have a spouse, civil partner or any children, the division of the estate is between relatives. The division of your estate to a relative depends on the relatives you have. The order of importance runs from your parents right down to your cousins. If there are no relatives who fall into any relevant category, the estate will pass to the government.
Concerns with the Intestacy Rules
If you have children, they are beneficiaries under the intestacy rules. Your children will be entitled to their share in the estate at 18. Concerns have arisen around 18 being the minimum inheritance age for children. This age is arguably a young age to handle potentially large sums of money.
If you don’t have a will it will potentially result in relatives you don’t get along with receiving a share of your estate. Furthermore, these relatives may apply for a Grant of Representation (known as a Grant of Letters of Administration). This grant decides who takes the role of a personal representative, enabling them to deal with your assets. By making a will, you decide who that person should be.
The share of the estate set aside under the intestacy rules for your spouse, or civil partner and children may not be sufficient for them financially. Therefore, the result will be the sale of the family home to allow them to survive.