We are continually amazed by the number of people who die without having made a Will. A staggering percentage of the population die Intestate.
Almost every day people come into our office saying “I’ve been meaning to get round to this for years”. Unfortunately, a lot of people never do get round to it. It could be that they have a small estate and are happy for everything to go to their close relatives but dying Intestate can sometimes have unexpected and significant consequences for a family.
The present rules for distributing estates without a Will were drawn up in 1925. There have been many social, economic and political changes since then, yet still a lot of people think that they do not need to make a Will – “the wife will get everything anyway”. However, this is not always the case. Under the Rules of Intestacy a situation could arise where the spouse only gets part of the estate whilst still responsible for meeting all the financial needs of the family, possibly including bringing up the children.
Another point to consider is co-habitation. Fundamentally, there is a failure in the legislation to provide anything for cohabitees. Think about that.
There are many good reasons for making a Will. First and foremost, you (not Parliament) should decide who benefits from your estate. You can leave gifts to friends, relatives or charities. You can leave treasured possessions to individuals. It is quite common in these days of second and even third marriages, for there to be dependants who may not be blood-related. These dependants will have no entitlement under the Intestacy Rules. Other reasons include who you appoint as executors, appointment of guardians of infant children, tax, asset protection, the list goes on.