Dying Without a Will- The Consequences

01/12/2016

This could mean that people who you wanted to be a beneficiary could be left out altogether.

The intestacy rules dictate that where the deceased was married, the surviving spouse receives the first £150,000 along with the personal chattels and a life interest in half the remainder of the estate. The rest of the estate gets passed to any surviving children in equal shares and if no children then to any grandchildren. In the event that there are no children or grandchildren alive at the sate of death, the surviving spouse receives the first £450,000 with the rest passing to their parents, or brothers and sisters if no parents survive. Where there are no children, parents, brothers or sisters the spouse inherits the entire estate.

Where the deceased is not married but merely co-habiting, the intestacy rules do not provide for the surviving partner at all.. In fact, the only way that a cohabitee would receive anything if if they owned assets jointly with the deceased. Instead, the deceased’s estate would pass to any surviving children in equal shares and where there are no children, to their grandchildren and then to their brothers and sisters, if no beneficiaries can be identified the estate would pass to the Crown.

Where an agreement cannot be reached with these benefiting under the intestacy rules, to gain any provision a co-habitee would have to apply to the court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. This option is only open to those partners who have been co-habiting for 2 years or more and is a time consuming and complicated process. When this route is chosen, the court takes into account the applicant’s financial needs and the moral obligation of the deceased. This can all be avoided leaving a Will, often saving large legal costs and bad feeling between loved ones.

Furthermore, dying intestate can lead to a larger inheritance tax bill being payable. There are many ways to reduce the inheritance tax bill by adequate planning and making a Will can ensure that you put measures in place to reduce the amount of tax payable

Please contact us should you wish to discuss making a Will.


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