How Death Without Will Works

Published / Last Updated on 14/06/2015

How intestacy affects us?How Intestacy Affects Us

How death affects all of us, our estate and those around us? 

From no children to being single, the different circumstances of a person can change how your will should be.

  • Married or Civil Partnership
  • Single
  • Divorced, children living with you
  • Divorced with children living with former partner
  • Co-habiting couple
  • Parents
  • Widow or Widower

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1. Married couples and civil partners with no will

This is the sort of letter we never want to see.  Dying without a will means that you die intestate.  There are Laws in place on how somebody's assets will be distributed when they do not make a Will.  

Any married or civil partnership couple should read on.............

"Dear Sir

My partner died a few weeks ago and I thought that I would be financially secure for the rest of my life. We have life insurance, investments, property, cars and jewellery etc. All the things you would normally expect a couple to have.

In short, we were just a normal couple.

I am devastated to learn that because we had not made wills I am not entitled to keep everything that we have worked for over the years and that it has now got to be shared with members of my family.

I can only keep £125,000 of our assets and have something called a Life Interest in half of the rest - just our house is worth more than £125,000 so that has given me other problems. I am also told that we may have to sell my house to break the estate up and distribute half of the assets to my children.  All this because we did not make Wills..."

Avoid Confusion, Misery & Heartache

You love your partner and your family - make sure that they are looked after according to both your and your partner's wishes. Spend a little time and a little money now.

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2. No Will SingleNo Will Single

Many people believe they do not need a Will and make statements such as:

  • "I'm too young"
  • "I'm too old"
  • "I'm single"
  • "I don't have anything worth leaving"
  • "I have no dependants"

All of this may be true but think about the following:

  • Do you wish to leave children or other relatives to sort out your affairs?
  • What if you have debts, loans, financing arrangements how will they be sorted?
  • You may have wishes with regard to specific items that you own and who you would like to have them?
  • You may wish for particular arrangements at your funeral?
  • You may have life insurance arranged to cover expenses such as your debts or funeral arrangements?

We all need to make a Will to ensure that our affairs are dealt with as we would wish 

Are you a single parent?

Then you need to make plans for your children now, who will act as Guardian? Would you prefer the courts to appoint one or Social Services to take charge?

Do you wish various members of your family or outsiders such as other paternal relatives to fight over who looks after your children?

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3. Divorced With Children

If you die without making a Will all will pass to your children.  Make a Will and ensure that your children are provided for with no delay awaiting court decisions.  It will also ensure that you have agreement as to who will look after the children if you are not there avoiding upset and dispute.

Thinking point - It may be that your children are younger.  If on your death they go to live with your ex-spouse, your ex-spouse may also be given control over your estate (in trust for the children) until they reach 18 years. If you do not want this you need to make a will now!

Remarried:

If you die without making a will then the first £125,000 will pass to your new spouse, the balance of the estate is split.  Half of the remainder goes to your new spouse, the other half to your children.

If you have not made a Will, your children who live with you may go back to your ex-spouse, your ex-spouse may also gain some control over your estate on behalf of the children - see the paragraph above.  Avoiding delay, confusion, heartache or legal dispute can only be done by making a Will.

What about your ex-spouse? They may have the right to apply for a maintenance order depending upon any court order or financial settlement agreement already in place. Avoid the uncertainty and make a Will.

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4. Divorced Children With Ex

If you die without making a will then all of your estate will pass to your children. Your ex-spouse may then gain some control over your estate in trust for your children. Do you want this or would you prefer others to make decisions.

Remarried

Without a Will your new spouse would receive the first £125,000, the balance of the estate is split. Half of the remainder goes to your new spouse, the other half to your children.  Any step-children will only be provided for by making a Will.  Either way, there are two families involved, making a Will avoids confusion, heartache, financial uncertainty etc.

Thinking point - What if you own a property with your new partner - part of this may pass into trust for your children (who live with your ex-spouse and possibly under your ex-spouses control until the children reach 18) - I'm sure you would not wish that uncertainty for your new spouse.

What about your ex-spouse? They may have the right to apply for a maintenance order depending upon any court order or financial settlement agreement already in place.

To avoid the uncertainty you need to make a Will.

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5. Cohabiting Couples Who Live Together No Will.Get a Will Today

Unmarried couples, often wrongly assume they have the same rights as married couples or those in a civil partnership. 

According to the Government Paper on Social Trends, over a quarter of unmarried men and women in the UK live together. In addition more than a third of babies are born out of wedlock.

The Law Society recently issued a discussion paper on cohabitation which called for increased legal protection regarding financial and property rights for all unmarried couples who live together.

People often refer to a "common law spouse" and there is a widespread misconception that after a certain period of time a "common law spouse" acquires the same rights as a legal spouse. This may be true in certain areas but not all.

The law will develop to reflect changes in Society.

Even written pre-nuptial agreements are not binding in the United Kingdom although the courts do take account of what was in the agreement.

As it stands currently, a couple living together are not legally related and therefore, on death would only be able to take assets that they can prove that they own and the courts may then decide on the distribution of other so called "joint assets".

Legal advice should be sought where joint assets are being purchased e.g. property to ensure that on death the surviving partner is still able to remain in the property.

IF YOU, LIKE MANY OTHER COUPLES, LIVE TOGETHER YOU HAVE TO MAKE A WILL TO ENSURE THAT YOUR WISHES ARE CARRIED OUT ON DEATH.

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6. Parents with no will.

You love your children - and they love you. 

Losing parents is hard enough for a child but to have not made a Will can leave them with more heartache and trauma.

AVOIDING TRAUMA SHOULD BE THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY FOR ALL PARENTS.

DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN ENDURE

  • Family arguments over who will look after them
  • Family arguments over how your estate will be handled to support your children
  • The Courts and Social Services deciding what happens to your children
  • Your children being forced to live where they do not want to or
  • Your children being forced to move away from their friends or schools
  • Members of your family being asked to look after your children when they do not wish to

Do you really want your children to grow up in this environment?

If you have children and have not made a Will you must do it now.

LOVING YOUR CHILDREN IS NOT IN QUESTION - BUT BEING A RESPONSIBLE PARENT MAY BE IF YOU HAVE NOT MADE A WILL.

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7. No Will Widowed or Widower

May people who lose their partner believe they do not need a Will because they believe they are:

  • Too old
  • Nothing worth leaving
  • No dependents

All of this may be true but you need to think about the following:

  • Do you wish to leave children or other relatives to sort out your affairs?
  • What if you have debts, loans, financing arrangements how will they be sorted?
  • You may have wishes with regard to specific items that you own and who you would like to have them?
  • You may wish for particular arrangements at your funeral?
  • You may wish to make gifts to a Charity - they are usually tax exempt - but you will need to make a Will to ensure that they receive your donation.

I HAVE NOBODY TO LEAVE IT TO - Except the Crown 

If you do not make a Will and specify somebody then guess who receives your estate? The Crown.

Speak to us today about our will writing services.

Contact FinancialAdvice.net


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