If someone dies without making a will – also known as dying intestate – the law determines how much of their estate their spouse or civil partner, children and other relatives will inherit. However, many people are unaware that if there is no will, unmarried partners and close friends cannot inherit.
Under intestacy laws, if there are no children, the spouse or civil partner will inherit the entire estate. If there are children, such partners will inherit all of the deceased’s personal property, a fixed sum from the estate and half of the remaining estate – the other half will go to their children.
Every five years, the government raises the amount spouses and civil partners can inherit. The amount has been set at £250,000 since 2014 but, from February this year, spouses or civil partners with children will be able to inherit £270,000 from intestate estates.
So writing a legally valid will, with the help of an expert solicitor, ensures your estate is inherited exactly as you would choose and can avoid problems landing on loved ones just when they are grieving.