Many people do not stop to consider how much they will be worth financially upon death, or consider the effect of Inheritance Tax on that money. A Will enables the person to express their wishes as to how assets are distributed, and nominate guardians for children after death.
In many cases it is also possible to reduce the amount of tax payable upon death through estate planning and forward thinking.
What if you die without making a Will?
If there is no Will (or an invalid Will) then the deceased is said to have died ‘intestate’. The Court would then appoint Administrators who will take responsibility for getting together the deceased’s assets and ensuring all the debts are paid before the estate is distributed.
One important point to bear in mind under intestate rules is that the surviving spouse may not necessarily inherit everything from the deceased. If they were not married then they have no automatic right to inherit anything. If there are minor children in the family it is not the parent’s choice who cares for their children – it becomes the responsibility of Social Services.
The deceased’s estate will be shared out according to strict division rules within the family – the deceased cannot decide to increase the benefit to one person or exclude another altogether without a valid Will in place.
What happens if there is no Will?
Obtaining letters of administration and appointing an administrator can take months or sometimes even years. In the meantime your surviving spouse or partner has all the usual expenses. Your surviving spouse or partner may not have access to money because the assets could be frozen until all the formalities have been dealt with.
How can I get a Will ?
You can buy a DIY Will from the shelves of most high street stationery stores – or online of course. However, if the rules are not correctly followed it will be invalid – so, we would strongly recommend you appoint a Solicitor or specialist Will-Writer. If you don’t know of any, we would be glad to recommend some options for you if you contact us >>