Rules of intestacySmart Will
What happens if I die without a Will?
Dying without a valid Will in place can mean that your estate passes to people whom you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to leave it to. It can also have far-reaching effects on your family, their finances and the care of any children left behind.
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Rules of intestacy
If you die without a Will then the rules of intestacy apply to everything you owned. These state that your spouse or civil partner, if you have one, will inherit the first £250,000 plus all personal possessions. Any sum over £250,000 is divided as to one-half for the spouse or civil partner and one-half shared equally between any children.
This means that if someone who was married with three children died intestate leaving a net estate worth £310,000, then their spouse would receive £280,000 (£250,000 plus half of the remaining £60,000) and each of the three children would receive £10,000.
This could cause difficulties where someone has remarried for example, as the surviving spouse might then choose to leave the money to their own relatives rather than their stepchildren. Leaving a valid Will can remedy this by protecting assets that you would like to pass ultimately to your children.
The rules of intestacy do not leave anything to co-habiting partners, ex-spouses or children.
Future care of children
If your children are aged under 18 and you die without a Will, then it will be for the court to decide who will become their guardian. This could mean that they end up living with someone whom you would not have chosen for them.
If a dispute arises over who should have custody, then they may be in limbo for as long as it takes the courts to settle the matter. There is even a possibility they could enter the care system.
By leaving a valid Will, you have the option to appoint the guardian of your choice for your children. You should discuss this with the guardian first to make sure they are happy to take on the role. You can also leave money in trust for your children, so that your trustees can make payments as needed to pay for living expenses, education and towards a home of their own.
Easy online Will writing with Smart-Will™
Putting a valid Will in place can be incredibly important for those left behind. By using our Smart-Will™ Will writing app you can easily create a valid online Will that makes sure that those you love benefit from your estate and know what you would like to happen after your death. Our online Will writing service is a fraction of the cost of a solicitor, but offers full support as well as free lifetime updates.