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Do you know what would happen to your family if you die without a Will?

By Shelley Lewis | Financial Editor | Wednesday 6th May 2020 

18-30 Years Old

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* Research by Macmillan Cancer Support - - 60% of UK adult population of 52 million = 31 million.

** Research by Will Aid -

*** Research by Which? Legal -

**** Sources for intestacy rules and example scenarios:

Using the UK Government calculator -

Money Advice Service -

Based on rules for England & Wales Only, rules may differ for Scotland & Northern Ireland. We suggest visiting to view the rules & calculations for your region.

Our example scenario with Andrew and Sarah – the resulting calculation from the Government Calculator -

***** Money Advice Service - - (England & Wales Only, rules may differ for Scotland & Northern Ireland)

As many as 31 million people in the UK have no Will in place, running the risk that their families will be left with a legal mess to untangle if they die.*

It’s a terrifying statistic, but almost two-thirds of all Brits have yet to make a Will, leaving the fate of their loved ones in the hands of the State.* 

What is more, over half of parents with children under 18 have not got this vital legal document in place to set out who will become their legal guardians.**

But with the right professional support, it’s not expensive or difficult to protect your family's future.

A shocking number of people delay writing a Will, leaving their loved ones’ future in the hands of the State.

Select your profile below to find a Professional & Affordable Will-Writer

Why do so many of us put off making a Will?

Research suggests that many people delay writing a Will because they don’t see themselves as wealthy enough to make it worthwhile.***

But you don’t need to be rich to make this legal document vital.

Putting in place a Will allows you to decide who will administer the division of your estate when you die - these are known as the “executors”.

You can also set out who you want to inherit what - these will be your “beneficiaries”.

If you have children under 18 you will also set out who you want to look after them when you are gone.

Without a Will, a court may decide who is responsible for your dependants. 

Death is one of those taboo subjects that we would do anything to avoid talking about.

When you throw in all the legal jargon associated with Will-writing, it’s no wonder people feel anxious when contemplating this task.

But burying your head in the sand is not the right answer.

Many people have no idea what would happen to their belongings if they die without a Will.

There is a casual assumption that all will come right in the end and those we are closest to will get their fair share of our assets.

Unfortunately the law doesn’t see it that way. When you die without a Will it is called dying “intestate”. Strict intestacy rules dictate who will get what and this might not be in line with your wishes.

The only way to make sure that your instructions are carried out is to set them out clearly in a valid document that is independently witnessed.

What happens when you die without a Will?

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If you have no Will in place, the law sets out how your assets should be divided according to a set of rules. These may create a number of unintended consequences:

Unless you are married or in a civil partnership your partner is not automatically entitled to inherit anything when you die.

If you are married, your spouse is likely to inherit most or all of your estate even if you are separated and no longer live together.

Under intestacy rules, even if you are estranged, your spouse will inherit the first £270,000 of your estate and half of anything that remains.

If your estate is worth £270,000 or less this would leave your children with nothing!

If your estate is worth £400,000, your spouse would receive £335,000 and your children would get just £65,000 divided between them.

Your beneficiaries could face a higher-than-expected inheritance tax bill because you have not split your assets in the most efficient way.

If you have no close relatives, the whole of your estate passes to the Crown under what are called “bona vacantia” rules.

If you jointly own assets such as property, ownership passes to the other joint owner when you die. With property, you must own the assets as “joint tenants” rather than “tenants in common” for this to apply.

When you remarry, any Will you have written prior to marriage becomes void.*****

What are the dangers of dying intestate?****

Don’t let these nightmare scenarios happen to you****

It is possible to write your own Will using information that is available online, but a tiny mistake could have dire consequences.

DIY Wills may be cheap, but they could end up costing your family dearly in the long-run.

In order for your Will to be valid it must meet certain standards, otherwise your wishes could be disregarded.

This could leave your true beneficiaries facing a costly legal battle to get the money they are due.

Another option is to use a solicitor, but this can be extremely expensive and time-consuming.

Andrew and Sarah have two daughters, Lucy and Hannah.
Sarah sadly dies when the girls are teenagers and some years later Andrew meets Denise and remarries. They live together happily for several years, but then their relationship begins to deteriorate and eventually they split up. Denise moves out, but the couple do not get around to divorcing as life gets in the way.

Andrew believes that his daughters stand to automatically inherit the house they grew up in and doesn’t bother writing a Will. When Andrew tragically dies intestate, Denise receives the family home. As the house is worth less than £270,000, this leaves his daughters with nothing!

Start Your Professional Will

Are DIY Wills a good idea?

Thankfully there is an alternative that is both secure and affordable. Will-writing professionals can help you put in place vital safeguards that ensure your wishes are carried out when you die.

With a properly-drafted Will from a reputable Will-writing service you can enjoy peace of mind that your family will be looked after when you are gone.

What is stopping you?

Speak to an expert Will-writer today

It’s time to stop putting off this vital task and make sure your family’s future is protected. Once it is done it will be a huge weight off your mind to know that your assets are safe.

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Chris lives with his girlfriend Katy in a flat he bought before they met. She is the person he is closest to as his father left the family when he was very young and his mother sadly died last year. If Chris dies intestate the flat will pass to his father as his nearest living relative and Katy stands to get nothing!