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It has recently been reported that television star Caroline Aherne did not make a Will before she sadly passed away with the result that her entire estate worth over £500,000 will pass to her mother through the laws of intestacy. With no spouse or children, she may well have wished for this to happen but if you want to decide who inherits your estate, a Will is an absolute necessity.

A recap on the law of intestacy

Depending on your situation, intestacy can mean different things for different people.

  • For a couple without children, the surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit their spouse’s/civil partner’s entire estate.
  • If you are married or in a civil partnership with children then your spouse/civil partner gets to keep the first £250,000 and your personal possessions and half of the remainder. The other half is then divided between the children.

For an individual without a spouse or civil partner and with no children then:

  1. Firstly, the entire estate will pass equally to parents
  2. Secondly, if there are no living parents, then  the estate passes to siblings or half siblings or their children if the siblings died in the intestate’s lifetime
  3. Thirdly, if there are no siblings then the estate passes to grandparents
  4. Fourthly, if there are no grandparents then the estate passes to aunts and uncles, half aunts and uncles or their children if the aunts and uncles die in the intestate’s lifetime
  5. Finally, if there are no relatives, then the estate passes to the crown

Making sure the right people benefit

If you want control over who inherits your estate once you die and be able to make the decision as to who will deal with your assets, then the importance of making a Will cannot be stressed enough. Earlier this year, figures released by Citizen’s Advice revealed that the number of people dying without leaving a will has more than doubled over the last five years. If you die without a Will, the Law dictates who inherits your estate. This may result in important people in your life receiving little or nothing from your estate and having to go through legal and financial difficulties.

Making or reviewing a Will

If you wish to review your existing Will or make a new Will to ensure it is as effective as possible in achieving your wishes, please feel free to contact me personally or any member of the Wills, Trusts and Probate Team at Bray & Bray.  There is always someone on hand to offer you expert legal advice at our three offices in Leicestershire:

Leicester 0116 254 8871

Hinckley 01455 639 900

Market Harborough 01858 467 181