Why should you make a Will?

When someone dies who has not written a valid Will that can be found, they are said to have died “Intestate” and the rules of Intestacy apply.

  • Without a Will, the rules of Intestacy dictate how your money, property or possessions should be allocated. This may not be the way that you would have wished your money and possessions to be distributed.
  • Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership will not automatically inherit from each other unless there is a Will, so the death of one partner may create severe financial problems for the remaining partner.
  • If you have children, you will need to make a Will so that arrangements to appoint a legal guardian for the children can be made if either one or both parents die.
  • If your circumstances have changed, it is important that you make a Will to ensure that your money and possessions are distributed according to your wishes. For example, if you have separated and your ex-partner now lives with someone else, you may want to change your Will. If you are married or enter into a registered civil partnership, this Will makes any previous Will you have made invalid.
  • It is not the case, as many assume, that if a husband or wife dies their estate automatically passes to their spouse. In fact, a substantial amount may go to other relatives.   A Will ensures that your estate is distributed as YOU would like it to be, and that your loved ones are properly provided for.

If you die intestate (i.e. without having made a Will) the government can end up with your assets if you have no close relatives. Even if you do, your wishes may not be followed.

Who gets what?

In intestacy cases after the application for letters of administration and the grant of representation the distribution follows the “Intestacy Tree” going as far as cousins and very often winding up after that point.

When the deceased is not married and has children, those children will inherit everything. The same rule applies if the child  predeceases the intestate person.

When the deceased is not married and has no children, the assets will be inherited by the surviving relatives in the following order: parents, brothers or sisters or their children, half brothers or sisters or their children, grandparents, uncles or aunts of their children, half uncles and aunts or their children.

Crown takes all

When there are no surviving relatives, then all assets could go to the Crown (or the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duke of Cornwall).

Approximately 70% of people have not yet made a Will and do not realise that if they die intestate – without a will – part or all of their estate, including their house less outstanding mortgage, could go to the Crown. The Treasury collected millions from intestate wills last year. and no doubt will continue to do so.