You might think this subject is boring and irrelevant, but everyone needs to understand how their estate is distributed if they die without a Will. Especially after the changes to the law introduced on 1 October 2014.
If you are co-habiting and your partner dies without leaving a Will, you will not inherit anything! A new claims procedure is available, but it is no use relying on this because it is time consuming and expensive.
If you are married and you die without a Will, your spouse will inherit all your personal possessions and all of the remainder of your estate.
If you are married with children and you die without a Will, your spouse will inherit the first £250,000 and half of the remaining balance. Your children will share the other half of the remaining balance.
If you are married but separated from your spouse, and you die without a Will, the rules above still apply.
If you are not married and die without a Will, the first group of people who may have a successful claim are any surviving children, followed by grandchildren then great grandchildren etc.
If there are no children, the next group is any surviving parents, but if there are no surviving parents, the next group entitled to claim Is any surviving brothers and sisters followed by any surviving half brothers and sisters.
If there are no surviving siblings or half siblings the next group is surviving grand parents, and if there is no one in this group it is followed by any surviving uncles and aunts followed by half uncles and aunts followed by any surviving cousins and half cousins.
Finally if no one comes forward, or is found by Heir Hunters (who will take their commission), the Crown is the final resting place for your estate.
Without a Will, your estate could end up with the wrong group of people. If you think that your appointed ‘next of kin’ or personal friends, charities or other close people will automatically inherit from your estate without a Will, then think again.
If you are in doubt call Hay Tarn for a free consultation.