Not made a Will? – this is where your money will goSmart Will
Not made a will? – this is where your money will go
If you haven’t made a will (called intestacy) then there are strict rules that could well end up flouting your wishes.
Death intestate is remarkably common in the UK. If fact new research shows that 50% of people don’t have a will and this increases to 72% in the 35-55 age bracket.
Just because it is common though doesn’t mean that it isn’t upsetting and the lack of a clear expression of wishes can just add extra upset at a time when people are already under stress.
So where does your money go when you die without making a will?
The intestacy rules dictate how your assets are divided and this follows a strict order of inheritance.
Where there is a surviving spouse or civil partner and there are no children, then, provided that the surviving spouse or civil partner survives the deceased by 28 days, they inherit the whole estate after all debts, expenses and taxes have been paid.
It’s important to note here that this is for spouse or civil partners – the law doesn’t recognise people who are cohabiting.
If there are children
If you and your partner have children then there’s a formula used to split your estate if you die without a will.
Where the estate is worth less than £250,000 the surviving partner receives all of the money.
For estates over £250,000 once any debts have been paid the first £250,000 goes to the surviving partner.
The remainder is then split.
Half goes to the partner and the other half is divided equally between the children.
But here’s a thing, all of the deceased’s personal effects go to the partner, so if you really wanted your vintage train set to go to your oldest boy then you may be out of luck.
What if there’s no partner and you die without a Will?
This is where it can start to get complicated
If you have children but no partner then the estate is split equally among them.
However, if your children have pre-deceased you then their share will be split between their children (your grandchildren).
If you have no children and no partner then your parents will inherit if they are still alive in equal shares.
And if your parents have passed on? Well, then it starts to get really complicated!
The formula distributes your estate to whole-blood relatives and then to half-blood relatives down the line.
Again, here’s another really important point – notice that these rules cover blood relatives only.
If you have step-children then they won’t be included unless you have formally adopted them.
Intestacy rules don’t take into account modern families
The rules around dying without a Will have been formed over centuries but are based on the traditional family with blood-related children but you need to ask yourself how many families you know that are like that?
More importantly, is your family like that?
You may be co-habiting but have children, or maybe you have informally adopted or perhaps you have a very close friend you’d like to recognise but in all these cases the intestacy laws will fail you.
You might also want to give money to charity or set up some form of gifting for your old university but of course, these won’t happen unless you make a will.
Remove the doubt and the complications
Making a will means that all of these rules won’t apply.
The Smart Will app is a simple and convenient method of making sure your wishes are known and acted upon and the best thing is that it doesn’t cost the earth.
You can make your online Will and be sure in the knowledge that your family will have been looked after and that your vintage train set will have a new home!