If you’re like most people, you aren’t eager to spend time thinking about what would happen if you became unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, an accident, or advanced age. However, if you don’t do at least a little bit of planning — writing down your wishes about the kinds of […]
What Happens if you Don’t Leave a Will?
If you don’t have a will when you die, your money, property and possessions will be shared out according to the law instead of your wishes. This can mean they pass to someone you hadn’t intended – or that someone you want to pass things on to ends up with nothing.
Why you shouldn’t die without a will?
Don’t let this happen to you
When one of two brothers died suddenly, his whole estate automatically went to their father, who had left them 40 years earlier and hadn’t been in contact since. His brother, who he was close to, got nothing.
When you die without leaving a will, the law decides who gets what and how much.
It doesn’t matter what your relationship with those people was like when you were alive.
By leaving a will that says clearly who should get your property and money when you die, you can prevent unnecessary distress at an already difficult time for your family or friends.
Some parents have had to sue their own children to get a share of their partner’s estate when their unmarried partner dies.
The law says that in this situation the children get everything.
Common rules if you don’t make a will
- If you’re not married and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die.
- If you’re married, your husband or wife might inherit most or all of your estate and your children might not get anything. This is true even if you are separated but not if you’re divorced.
- If you have children or grandchildren, how much they are legally entitled to will depend on where you live – but if you make a will you can decide this yourself.
- Any Inheritance Tax that your estate has to pay might be higher than it would be if you had made a will.
- If you die with no living close relatives, your whole estate will belong to the to the government. This law is called bona vacantia.
Note: any assets that you own jointly with someone will not pass under the intestacy rules but will pass by survivorship to the surviving joint owner.
Make a will today
Making a will is easier than you might think.
These guides will help you get started: