Dying Without a Will
Dying without a Will can lead to many problems and can cause a great deal of delay, expense and distress to your loved ones who are left to deal with your estate. There are many problems associated with dying without a will.
A will gives you control. It is a common misconception that even if there is no will everything will go to your spouse. This is not the case depending on the value of the assets in the estate a spouse may only be entitled to a proportion of the estate if there is no will.
If you are living together with your partner, but are not married, your partner does not have an automatic right to your assets. If you die without a will instead of your estate being divided as you would have wanted, your estate is distributed under the laws of intestacy. This can result in complications and the laws of intestacy do not adequately account for modern family situations.
Not having a will can result in huge problems for unmarried partners, particularly where children are involved.
Even if you are married the whole estate does not necessarily go to the surviving husband or wife. If there are no children the estate will go to the surviving spouse up to certain specified limits and the remainder will go to other family members depending on who survives the deceased. For example, if the deceased had siblings and parents then they would share in the remainder of the estate.
If you die with no will and have no relatives your estate will pass to the crown. If you have no relatives there may be friends or charities who you would like to benefit from your estate. The only way you can ensure these people will benefit rather than the crown is by preparing a will.
If you have children and have no will or nominated guardians for your children then the court will decide who will look after them if you pass away. A simple clause that can be included in your will can ensure your children are looked after by the guardians you choose.
The laws of intestacy do not make provision for children from a partner's previous marriage or step families. If you die without a will step parents and step children will not benefit, regardless of whether or not you live together or how long you have been living with them.
Not having a will in place can open up the possibility of long and protracted legal battles between friends, partners and relative. Put simply without a will your wishes are ignored. There are numerous advantages of making a will.