When someone passes away without leaving a valid will (the legal term for this is intestate), this can present complications for those left behind.
If you are married or in a civil partnership and you die intestate, your spouse or civil partner will not automatically inherit all of your estate. If you have children, your spouse will receive your personal possessions, the first £270,000 of your estate and only half of the remainder, the rest will go to your children, or grandchildren if a child predeceases you.
Unfortunately, the current Intestacy rules also do not take into account relationships where you are not married or in a civil partnership; this would mean your partner not receiving any of your estate if you die intestate. Such a situation could also result in a former spouse inheriting everything if you have not formally separated.
If you leave children and are divorced, your former spouse, if they have parental responsibility, is likely to be the one making decisions in relation to your assets in an Intestacy situation.
These are just a few examples of the unfairness of Intestacy -which may add potential friction at what will already be an emotional and distressing time. This could so easily be avoided by making a well drafted will.
For expert advice on all aspects of will drafting and Estate Planning, please contact our experienced Wills & Estate Planning Department on 01267 237441.