The Importance of making a Will
It is a common misconception that it is not necessary for a Will to be prepared because, in the case of a couple, everything will pass to the survivor.Whilst this may, in part, be true this is not necessarily always going to be the case.
Under the Intestacy Provisions, which dictate how the estate is due to be divided in the event of somebody dying without a Will, the following provisions take effect.
If there is a surviving spouse and children:
- All personal possessions will pass to the surviving spouse
- All jointly owned assets will pass to the surviving spouse
- The sum of £250,000 will pass to the surviving spouse
- The balance of the estate will be divided with one half passing to the surviving spouse and the other half passing to children, contingent upon attaining the age of 18.
It is only if there are no children that the surviving spouse will inherit the estate.Furthermore, this is conditional on the couple being married, it does not apply to “common law” husbands or wives.
As you can see, if one party owns the property in his or her sole name, given the potential value of this property, it may be that the children will inherit part of the property.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that if couples are not married the Intestacy provisions make no provision for a partner nor do they make any provision for stepchildren.This can also mean that if there are children from different relationships everything could end up passing to children just from one relationship at the expense of the other’s children.
Whilst it is possible to challenge and make a claim against the estate in circumstances where there is inadequate provision, the costs, stress and time that this will all take to resolve would be significantly more than if a Will had been put in place.
There may not always appear to be a simple solution but expert advice can help to address any combination of circumstances.
If you would like further advice about the preparation of a Will please contact Richard Horwood, Head of our Private Client team.
Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.