If you don’t have a will you’re not alone. Statistics show that two thirds of UK adults have not made a will. Even where people have made a will, many will be unaware that theirs is out of date. For example, a will is automatically cancelled when you get married, unless it was written with the marriage in mind.

That’s a huge number of people who, when they die, will be intestate. This means that their assets would be dealt with in accordance with the Intestacy Rules, and these Rules are being updated with effect from today.

The reforms mainly concern estates worth over £250,000, and with the average UK house price now £272,000, many families up and down the country will be affected.

 What could this mean for you and your family?

Under the new rules, if you die without a will, and are married without children, your spouse or civil partner will now receive all of your assets.  Previously the Intestacy Rules allowed other blood relatives such as siblings or parents to benefit, but this is no longer the case.

If you do have children, your surviving spouse or civil partner will receive the first £250,000, and half of any remaining monies above that amount. The remaining half would go to your children.

The changes provide greater protection for married couples and civil partners than under the previous Rules.

However, unmarried couples have no protection at all under the new Rules. If you are cohabiting, rather than married or in a civil partnership, your partner would receive nothing from your estate, and instead your assets would be passed to your nearest blood relative.  This creates all kinds of awful scenarios – for example it could mean that your dearly loved partner of 20 years gets nothing and instead your estranged cousin inherits all your assets. Unmarried couples who don’t make a will could be leaving their surviving partners in real financial difficulty.

Whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or unmarried the best way to ensure that your money is left to the people of your choice is to make a will. Our Wills, Probate and Trusts team will be happy to discuss your requirements and give you a clear fixed fee for the preparation of your will. Don’t leave providing for your loved ones to chance, make a will today.

For further information contact Lisa Bucknall by email or 0191 232 9547 or Chat Live on our website.