The simple answer to this question is “no”, especially if your family and personal circumstances do not fit within the stereotypical family type of being “married with 2.4 children!”
Our easy to follow flowchart shows what would happen to your assets in the event that you died without a Will. Would this be what you would want? For most people the answer again would probably be “no”.
Making a Will is therefore vitally important to ensure that your wishes are followed and those people you love and care about benefit from your estate following your death.
Jack and Jill have lived together for over 30 years and although they have discussed marriage, they have never married. Jack has two grown up children from a previous relationship who do not get on with Jill. The house is in Jack’s sole name and is worth £250,000. Jack also has savings of £200,000. Jill has savings of £100,000.
Sadly Jack dies having not made a Will. Although Jack and Jill have lived together as “man and wife” for over 30 years, they are not legally married. Jill is therefore not entitled to anything from Jack’s estate.
Under the intestacy rules Jack’s estate, which consists of the house he shares with Jill and his savings, will pass to his children in equal shares.
This is not what Jack wanted as he and Jill always considered everything they owned to be joint assets and assumed it would pass to the survivor on the first death.
Jill is therefore left with no option but to make a potentially expensive and lengthy claim against Jack’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents Act) 1975.
Brian is a bachelor having never married. He does not have any children. Brian and his brother Mark fell out following the death of their parents and have not spoken for over 15 years. Brian has very close friends, Arthur and Betty, who have two children Katy and Daniel. Brian considers Arthur, Betty and their children to be his family. He sees them regularly, going on holiday with them every year. Brian tells his friends that when he dies he would like his estate to pass to Katy and Daniel to help them get a foot on the property ladder.
Sadly Brian does not get around to making a Will and dies intestate. Under the intestacy rules Katy and Daniel do not receive anything, as Brian’s whole estate passes to his only surviving sibling Mark. This is clearly not what Brian would have wanted to happen.
If only Jack and Brian had come to see Thomas Guise to make a Will to ensure that Jill, Katy and Daniel benefitted from their estates in line with their wishes!
Download our easy to follow Intestacy flowchart – what happens if I die without a Will? here