You might be wondering why you should make a Will and whether or not the expense is worth it, because after all, when you die your partner will get everything - right?
Well, possibly. Dying without a Will is called “intestacy” and means that strict rules must be followed when distributing your life time assets or “estate” (money, real property like a house and personal belongings). For example, if you cohabit without marrying your partner, they are not entitled to a share in your estate after you’ve died.
A surviving spouse will get the first £250,000 of your estate. If you leave children they would get nothing if your estate is worth less than £250,000. Your surviving spouse will get all of your “chattels” (your possessions) meaning that they then have to deal with it all.
If there is anything left after the £250,000 given to the spouse, this is then halved and half is given to the spouse again, and the other half is split between any children. So if you died leaving £350,000 worth of assets, and were married, your spouse would get £250,000 plus £50,000 with the last £50,000 being split equally among any children.
These rules might be unfair in your particular circumstances, especially if your loved ones do not feel adequately provided for. They might however be able to make a legal claim, but of course this carries with it the risk of the claim failing and becoming expensive to pursue.
Intestacy rules govern who gets what from your estate. Because no Will was left, you get no say in how your estate is shared out. This means that your control over the situation has been replaced by inflexible legal rules; the solution is to invest in a Will which gives you back control.