Why You need to make a Will now
May 4, 2020

What happens if I don’t have a Will?

If you have children and you think your spouse or civil partner will inherit all your assets, you are probably wrong.

If you think your partner or “common law” spouse will get it all, you are definitely wrong.

These common myths mean that your loved ones will lose out unless you act now.

So, who would inherit my estate if I don’t have a will?

In England & Wales, the Intestacy Rules (where you don’t have a valid Will) provide that, if you leave a spouse or a civil partner, and you don’t have any children, your spouse or civil partner will get it all.

But, if you have children, the picture is very different.

Your spouse would get the first £250,000 and only half of anything above that, with your children getting the rest. Any stepchildren would not inherit anything as the rules only apply to your own children (including adopted children).

Would your wife or husband be able to manage if part of your estate is held in trust for your children until they reach 18?

If not, he or she might end up having to make a claim against the estate and asking the Courts to award a bigger share. This probably isn’t what you would want and litigation like this can make a huge dent in the estate, leaving everyone worse off. Also, HMRC will be taking 40% Inheritance Tax on the part which goes to the children – if it had all gone to your spouse under a will, there would be no tax to pay.

(Try Googling “Rik Mayall Will” and you’ll see the mess which can be left behind for a grieving spouse to cope with.)

Also, the Intestacy Rules only apply to married people and civil partners. Legally, there is no such thing as a “common law” wife or husband; if you aren’t married, your partner would get nothing and you your estate might all go to your children (but not any stepchildren).

If you have no children, your partner will see your estate go to your parents, siblings or even distant cousins.

If you have no relatives, it will all go to the State rather than the person you have spent your life with. If that were to happen, your partner could make a claim against the estate but, again, this is very expensive and it’s not always successful – we can help with making claims, but we would rather you just made a Will.

Why do I need to make a Will now?

It’s always easier to put it off and some people even think it’s tempting fate (it really isn’t!).

The truth is that, although we like to think we are invincible, we aren’t. Accidents happen all the time. Sadly, even young people are struck down with awful diseases, suffer strokes, or even early onset dementia so that they are no longer able to make a Will. You don’ t need us to tell you that life can be cruel.

If you have a long-term partner or you have children, it just doesn’t make sense to put off making sure that they will inherit all you own if you are taken from them too soon.

Shouldn’t it be you who decides?

  • Who gets your money and your house?
  • Who sorts out the estate? – this should be someone you trust and they might also be trustees of any money left to your children (who might include stepchildren if you wish)
  • When your children should inherit large sums of money? – you can set an age – usually between 18 and 25 (but it can be later).
  • Who should look after the share of any disabled child?
  • Who should look after part of your estate if you’re worried one or more of your children might not be able to handle it themselves or might be influenced by someone else to spend it all unwisely?
  • Who gets your precious belongings and even your “digital assets” such as photos and documents held in the Cloud?
  • Who has access to your Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts? – your Will can include a clause making clear who can deal with your “digital assets” to download your data and close down the accounts.

And more importantly you can make sure you take care of the people you love and who depend on you

We can help you do this.

We are regulated and insured, and we have the necessary legal skills to get it right.

Buying a will from a newsagent or using a “will writer” may mean that your will may not be valid or may be wrong. So it may be cheaper but remember that, when your loved ones come to rely on it (assuming they can find it), you can’t correct it or change it or do anything – they are left trying to deal with any mistakes just when they need you the most.

To find out more about making a will please call Beth King on on 020 8313 1300 020 8313 1300 or email

The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.