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News article

The implications of not making a Will are potentially horrendous

At about 1.40pm this afternoon I am speaking live to Carl Wheatley on BBC Radio Humberside about the huge risks of not making a will. The media interest in this subject has been sparked by an article a couple of days ago, the details of which are shown below.

Leon Lurie Senior Partner Hudson Law

"Die intestate and your loved ones will be left to untangle your legacy

Even Labour leader Ed Miliband was cagey recently about whether he and wife Justine Thornton had made wills, suggesting they may not have done the necessary paperwork to ensure their assets are distributed in the way they would wish after death.

But having an up-to-date will in place is important if you don’t want your loved ones to be left with financial headaches after you’ve gone.

Why is it important to have one?

By writing a will you can be sure your estate – your money and belongings – goes to the people you want it to after you die. A will can also ensure there is adequate financial provision for any dependants, as well as stating who should care for them. It is something millions of people forget, overlook or ignore, but dying without a will – known as dying intestate – means your assets will be divided according to the rules of intestacy. This may mean unmarried partners get nothing. Even spouses may get significantly less than they were expecting.

What happens if I die without a will?

The rules of intestacy are complicated and vary depending on circumstance. In England and Wales, if the total estate is worth less than £250,000, including a property, and you are married or in a civil partnership, all the money passes to your spouse. This is the case even if you are separated but still married.

The exception is jointly owned property and joint savings and bank accounts where the asset automatically passes to the joint owner, even if they were not the spouse or civil partner. For this to happen, property must be owned as joint tenants and not ‘tenants in common’ – the latter is a legal set-up some couples choose for inheritance tax planning purposes.

If an estate is worth more than £250,000 and there are children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, the first £250,000 goes to the spouse or civil partner. They then retain a life interest in half of the remaining money. This means that the spouse cannot spend the capital during their lifetime but is allowed to draw an income from the money. The other half passes to the children.

The rules change again for estates worth £450,000 or more, or if there are no surviving children. Where there is no spouse and no children the estate will go to the parents first, then siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts.

If no relatives survive, the money goes to the Government."

Source: ThisisMONEY.co.uk 28th July 2012

To read the original article, please use this link: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-2180242/Die-intestate-loved-ones-left-untangle-legacy.html#ixzz226IlsAv3

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