When someone dies without making a Will, they are considered to be Intestate. In these situations, the decision on how an Estate is divided up is governed by a number of rules. Only married and civil partners, and close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy.
This means that if you have a long-term co-habiting partner, they would not receive anything from your Estate.
If you are married or in a civil partnership with children and die intestate, your spouse will receive all of your personal property and belongings, the first £270,000 of the Estate, and half the remaining Estate. Your children would receive the remaining part of the Estate. In some cases this can mean that your spouse may have to take any children under 18 to court to make a claim. This is a time consuming, potentially traumatic, and costly process.
If you own a home with your partner and are beneficial joint tenants, your surviving partner would automatically inherit your share of the property. However, if you are tenants in common, your share of the property would not automatically go to them. This could leave them in a potentially precarious situation.
For individuals who aren’t married and have no children, the Estate is shared between their closest relatives. In some instances this can mean that your assets could be shared with someone you don’t know or have never met.
We think you’ll agree that none of these are particularly attractive options, which is why Jarmans Solicitors always recommend that our clients have an up-to-date Will in place.
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