Posted On / 30.09.2014

Act Now to Protect your Loved Ones Later

Act now to protect your loved ones later

A friend asked me the other day what would happen to her property on death as she didn’t have a Will, was cohabiting but not married, and had two children. After a sharp intake of breath, I was able to offer some helpful guidance.  

It’s amazing but research published in September 2014 shows that nearly half of all South West adults have not made a Will. Across the UK, unbiased.co.uk found 28.7 million adults have not taken this easy but essential step to ensure their estate goes to the right people on their death.  

I often wonder why this is, especially as more and more people such as my friend cohabit with a partner or have second or third marriages.  

If you have not made a Will the Intestacy Rules will decide where your estate goes, not you or your family, and these are changing right now.  

From October 2014, if you die without a Will and leave a spouse and no children, your spouse inherits everything. If you leave a spouse and children, your spouse inherits all personal possessions, the first £250,000 and then half the balance of your estate. The other half is divided equally between the children. The new rules remove the use of a trust over half of the balance, widely seen as a welcome change.  

But what about cohabiting couples? They have still not been given any security. A cohabitee has no rights under the Intestacy Rules and may be faced with the uncomfortable thought of making a claim against the estate to get some security. That claim could actually be against their children.  

Furthermore, the intestacy rules do not govern who would look after your children if both you and your spouse or partner die. It is not something you want to consider but it is important that you do. In a Will you and your partner can appoint a guardian for your children and decide who you trust not only to care for them but also to look after any inheritance for them if they are under 18.  

The reason to make a Will is not about poor health or having lots of assets to leave. It is to have knowledge and control over what will happen to your affairs when you die so that you can give your loved ones peace of mind.  

As always, the best advice is to speak to the experts. For an initial chat, ring me on 01935 811307 or email naomi.dyer@battens.co.uk