What really happens if you don't leave a Will?

24 January 2019
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Creating a Will may be something you’ve been meaning to do yet still not got around to. But, by delaying, are you making a costly mistake that will hurt your loved ones when you’re gone? 

In the UK, 54% of adults don’t have a Will or have an out of date Will. For those individuals, if the unexpected should happen, it’s up to the Government to decide who property and assets are passed onto – and their decision may not be the right one. 

Why you should have a Will 
If you don’t leave a Will, the Government decides how your assets are distributed to your blood relatives, without considering your relationship with different family members while you were alive. In this instance, as an example, if you have an unofficial partner, or a close friend, they will not be considered as they are not a relation on paper.

By drafting a Will that clearly states who should receive which assets ensures your money and property is distributed correctly, in accordance with your wishes. This also provides an opportunity for you to specify charitable contributions, for instance. 

Inheritance without a Will
If you pass away without a valid Will, your property, money and other assets will be divided according to the Rules of Intestacy. If you're married or in a Civil Partnership, your partner will inherit the property under these rules. If you're not married, your estate will be divided between your children or, if you don’t have children, given to the next closest relative. 

If you don’t have any living relatives or a Will, The Crown Estate will receive your assets.

Children and guardianship 
As a parent, you can specify who will look after your children should the unexpected happen. Otherwise, if both parents were to die without official guardians appointed, children can end up in foster care while decisions are made about guardianship. 

To safeguard your children's future, ensure you have your Will prepared and that it’s updated if your circumstances change.

Updating your Will
You should update your Will every five years or after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, or if new children or grandchildren are born so that your Will reflects your current wishes.

If you would like to create or update an existing Will, please contact us. We are based in Colchester, Essex but operate throughout the UK.