No Will - Now What?
A recent survey by Will Aid has found that almost 50% of adults don't have a will. This comes with the news that Rik Mayall, who died aged 56 had not left a will, meaning his £1.2 million estate could have been subject to inheritance tax, which is charged at 40% on anything over £325,000.
Our Head of Court of Protection
, Wills, Probate and Trusts, adds that:"Rik Mayall's situation does apply to wealthier families in particular, as this is when the inheritance tax becomes payable. People must, however, realise that intestacy can affect anyone, it can see your loved ones missing out on receiving anything at all after your death, and could benefit people who you wouldn't like to give your property to."
What is Intestacy?
If you die and you haven't written a will, or your will is invalid, the rules of intestacy may apply.
Under the rules, the first £250,000 of your estate will go to your spouse or civil partner as well as half of the remaining estate if you have children or grandchildren. If you don't have children or grandchildren, your partner will inherit all your personal belongings as well as the whole of the estate.
Your children will only inherit part of your estate if it is worth more than £250,000, and will receive half of anything over the £250,000 in equal measures.
The Will Aid survey found that 13% of people thought they did not need a will as they believe their loved ones would automatically inherit their estate. This is simply not true.
If you have a partner but you aren't married or civil partners, then they will receive nothing. As well as this, if you have only informally separated from your ex-partner they will receive the full first £250,000 of your estate as well half of anything over this, or even the full value of your estate if you have no children or grandchildren.
If your estate is less than £250,000 and you have a living spouse or civil partner, your children will receive nothing.
These are just a couple of the pitfalls loved ones face when a relative dies without leaving a will. Our Head of Court of Protection, Wills, Probate and Trusts adds, "These rules are applied because there are few ways to understand someone's intentions with regards to their estate after they have died. Intestacy rules could see certain loved ones left with nothing."
How to Make a Will?
The survey by Will Aid
found that 68% of people use a solicitor to write their will, they note that whilst DIY wills are cheaper, "There is a very high chance of error and of the will subsequently being challenged and found invalid."
She advises, "The only way to make sure your loved ones receive what you would like to give them is by writing a will. Doing it yourself is risky, and can cause incredible distress and upset in the future for family and friends at an already upsetting time."
Getting professional help when writing a will
can save you time and effort, and you will be safe in the knowledge that your will is valid and can be upheld after your death.