If you don't leave a valid will your estate will pass in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.
If you are married or are in a civil partnership, the first person entitled to your estate under the intestacy rules is your spouse / civil partner, but he or she will not necessarily inherit the whole of your estate.
The amount your spouse / civil partner would inherit depends on how much is in your estate and which of your blood relatives survive you. Assets held in joint names usually pass automatically to the other joint owner(s) and do not form part of your estate (if you are unsure about the type of joint ownership you share with another, you should consider seeking legal advice).
If any of the following circumstances apply to you, the intestacy rules may not cater for your situation in the way that you would wish:
- You are living together but are not legally married or in a civil partnership but wish your partner to inherit some or all of your estate.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and have children and you wish your spouse / civil partner to inherit all of your estate.
- You have no living relatives and wish to leave your estate to your friends or to a charity (the Crown may take your estate if you die leaving no will and no surviving relatives).
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership and you don't wish your spouse / civil partner to inherit anything.
- You are legally married or in a civil partnership but have no children.
- You are legally married or are in a civil partnership and have children from a previous relationship and you wish to ensure that your children receive something from your estate.
- You have dependant relatives e.g. children under 18, elderly relatives or relatives with a disability who have special needs and you want to make sure that they are looked after and provided for. (If you make a will you can appoint guardians to look after your children and set up trusts in your will to provide for dependants.
- Your estate is large and may be liable for Inheritance Tax and you may wish to make arrangements for tax planning.
Our Online Will Service is an excellent way of making a low cost Valid Will.