What do Prince, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson all have in common? They were all famous singers who died without ever having made a Will.
People will often hear lawyers talk about how important it is to make a Will but still go on to never make one year after year. If this is you, then it is important that you know about the risks involved and what will happen to your belongings if you pass away without a Will.
The Intestacy Rules
“You’d better make a Will or else the Queen will get all your money!” is something which you may or may not have heard. Whilst it is not entirely impossible for the Government to be given all of your belongings when you die intestate (without a Will) the likelihood of it happening is actually very rare.
Rather than giving all of your belongings straight to the Government there is actually a very clear line to who your belongings pass if you die without a Will. Briefly, everything passes to your husband/wife/civil partner first, then onto your children and if none of those are able to inherit your belongings then your estate works its way back up the family tree towards your parents. The entire list of who inherits your property and when can be found here on the Government’s website.
However, although the Queen will not be getting everything you own, the intestacy rules are unlikely to be most tax efficient way for you to manage your affairs and they might not administer your estate in the way you’d prefer if, for example, your partner of 35 years were to receive nothing because you never married whilst your already wealthy children receive the entirety of your estate.
Legal Claims Within the Family
Leaving your estate to be distributed under the rules of intestacy makes it much more likely that a relative that felt they should have inherited some of your belongings or an unmarried partner will make a claim against it. This can have huge cost implications and can often become a long and drawn out process which unfortunately only ever happens at a time when families should be coming together not falling apart over who gets what. This is in itself a really good reason to make a Will.
How long does it take to deal with my estate if I don’t have a Will?
If you have a made a Will then when you die the people who you have named as executors automatically have a legal authority and power to begin dealing with your estate. This power stems directly from your Will and your executors are able to begin dealing with banks, insurers and funeral directors immediately.
However, this is not always the case with the intestacy rules. Often when a person dies without a Will the Court will be required to issue what is known as Grant of Letters of Administration to the Personal Representatives. This Grant will normally be issued to the people who would benefit under the intestacy rules. This means that, while this Grant is being issued by the Court – which can take a long time, there is a legal gap in your estate. Also, obtaining this Grant incurs even more costs and takes even more time than if a Will had been made in the first place.
Make a Will and R.E.S.P.E.C.T Your Loved Ones
Don’t make the same mistakes as Aretha and Prince.
Making a Will is a quick and simple way to avoid the risk of all these problems. When you have a properly drafted Will you can rest easy knowing that if the worst happens then your estate will be dealt with in the way you wanted it to be not the way the law wanted it to be.
If you would like to consider drafting your Will or would like to review one you’ve already made then call one of our team who will be happy to talk to you.
We offer an outstanding 7 working day service, along with free yearly Will reviews, register your Will with Certainty and we will even store your Will for you for as long as you like at no extra cost.
To book an appointment to meet with one of the Wills & Trust team please contact our