What happens if you die without a will?Make Text Bigger
The world might not end if you don’t make a will, but the loved ones you leave behind may face financial difficulties and uncertainty.
Many people do not write a will for lots of reasons, some valid and some not so.
Recent surveys suggest most are just a bit lazy and do not like to think about their demise.
Many believe they have nothing of value to leave and some do not want to give any of their wealth to their family or loved ones.
Not leaving a will when you pass away is called ‘dying intestate’.
Complicated rules are applied to someone’s estate when they die without a will. These rules share out the estate – the amount that’s left after all the bills and tax are paid – in a strict rotation between your surviving family.
If there’s no family, then the estate reverts to the Crown.
The point to watch here is family means blood relatives and spouses, not live-in partners.
Without a will, your unmarried partner will not inherit a bean from your estate unless they are joint tenants in the home you own, in which case your share automatically goes to them.
Other important jobs of a will are designating who looks after your children under 18 if you die and who manages their financial interests if you leave cash or property.
Writing a will is not complicated if your financial affairs are straightforward. Providing the will covers all the legal requirements and is signed and witnessed, that is pretty much that.
The problem, like that with all legal documents, is the wording has to be spot on and not open to interpretation. That’s why so many people go to a solicitor for the service.
Writing a will is not that expensive – and many consider the cash well spent because it gives them peace of mind that their affairs are finalised should anything happen to them.
If you already have a will that is more than two years old, it’s worth considering a review to make sure any personal and legal changes are covered.
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