It is esti­mat­ed that 70% of Britons do not have a will.

New Intes­ta­cy Rules that come into effect on Feb­ru­ary 1st will help some of those with­out a will, but also high­light the severe con­se­quences of dying intEs­tate’ (with­out a will).

Mar­ried part­ners of peo­ple who die with­out a will stand to be bet­ter off under major changes to inher­i­tance rules announced by the Min­istry of Justice.

If a per­son dies with­out mak­ing a will and leaves chil­dren behind, their part­ner will receive the first £250,000 of the Estate, instead of the cur­rent posi­tion where they will receive just £125,000.

If the per­son dies with­out mak­ing a will with­out chil­dren, but has a close rel­a­tive — a par­ent, sib­ling, niece or nephew — their part­ner will receive the first £450,000, instead of the cur­rent £200,000.

Sean Bar­row, a solic­i­tor with 30 years expe­ri­ence in Wills and Pro­bate said It will cer­tain­ly give extra pro­tec­tion to mar­ried cou­ple and civ­il part­ners whose Spouse or civ­il part­ner dies with­out a will.

At the same time, mar­ried cou­ples and civ­il part­ners should not assume that when their Spouse or civ­il part­ner dies, they will auto­mat­i­cal­ly be enti­tled to every­thing. It is up to indi­vid­u­als to make sure that their wish­es are respect­ed by mak­ing a will.”

The more severe con­se­quences of dying intEs­tate fall to cou­ples liv­ing togeth­er, but who are not mar­ried. Under the eyes of the law there is no such thing as a com­mon-law wife or hus­band. If you are cohab­it­ing, you have no auto­mat­ic right to inher­it any­thing at all from your partner.

Sean said This again high­lights that cul­tur­al and social changes are not always adopt­ed by the law. Although aware­ness of this issue is increas­ing, there are many who believe the fal­la­cy that if one part­ner dies, the oth­er will auto­mat­i­cal­ly inher­it everything.

Last­ly, dying with­out a will effec­tive­ly rules out mak­ing a gift to caus­es and char­i­ties you may wish to sup­port. It rules out mak­ing gifts to friends, and does not deal with more com­plex fam­i­ly arrange­ments many of us have such as stepchil­dren. As the old say­ing goes, it’s bet­ter to be safe than sorry.”

Jack­son Bar­rett & Gass are com­mit­ted to offer­ing a tai­lored ser­vice to all clients. We offer a dis­tance will ser­vice via post and email, as well as face to face meet­ings and free home vis­its to elder­ly or infirm clients. Jack­son Bar­rett & Gass have pro­vid­ed Wills to the peo­ple of Cheshire since 1930.


This arti­cle appeared in Wilm­slow Express 05/03/09