Family Law

Why make a will – Intestacy Rules and unmarried couples

Post by: Emma Van der Sluis 27/08/2019 0 comments 148 views

Every year, around 1 in 3 people die without making a will.  Where a person dies without making a will, their assets are shared out according to the rules of intestacy, and potentially not in the way the deceased would have wished.

It is a common misconception that unmarried “common law” partners have the same rights as married couples. 

The reality is that the intestacy rules make no provision for unmarried partners, irrespective of how long they have been together.  Some people believe this is out of step with modern society. This can have devastating consequences, as outlined in a recent article https://mol.im/a/7334313

To rectify the position, a claim would need to be made on the deceased’s estate, which can be costly and time consuming at an already stressful time.

Even if you are married, your spouse may not inherit as much as you wish without a valid will. If you are married but have separated, the intestacy rules provide that your spouse would still inherit.  If you die without a spouse or children, then your estate will be divided among your surviving relatives in accordance with the rules, or where there are no surviving relatives, to the Crown.

To avoid getting caught out, and ensure your wishes are followed, you should make a will.  Even if you have a will already, it is also important to review this every few years to ensure this still suits your requirements.

When you make a will, you can decide who you would like to deal with everything when you pass away, specify who you would like to receive your assets and personal belongings and even appoint a guardian for your children.

If you would like to discuss making a will or if you would like some advice in relation to an intestacy, please get in touch with a member of our team. We have offices in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark, Sleaford and Spalding where we would be glad to assist you.

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