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No one wants to think about what will happen when they’re gone – after all, it’s not the cheeriest of subjects. But if you don’t have a will, it could leave your family dealing with paperwork, phone calls, loose ends and, more importantly, your assets to be decided by the Government under intestacy rules.

A will puts a plan in place for your loved ones if the worst should happen. Many assume they don’t have enough to make it worthwhile writing a will just because they don’t own a house or a lot of assets. But what about any wishes you have for funeral plans? If you don’t write a will, you’re leaving this to be dealt with by others. Let’s take a look at what could happen if you don’t make a will and how Government intestacy laws could affect you.

Don’t let Government intestacy laws decide

Intestacy laws have been in place since October 2014 and they lay out what would happen to your money if you die without a will. The changes mean that if you’re married or in a civil partnership and you don’t have any children, your partner has the right to the whole of your estate – the rest of your family won’t get anything.

However, it still means that any unmarried partners aren’t protected. That’s why it’s really important to make a will and make sure your partner wouldn’t lose out.

Intestacy rules as of 2014

If you’re married or in a civil partnership and you don’t have children, your partner will inherit all of your estate. Any other relatives won’t get anything.

If you’re married or in a civil partnership but you do have children, your partner will get the first £250,000 of your estate, your personal belongings and half of whatever is left. Your children will get the rest of your estate. This is only if your estate is worth more than £250,000. If it’s worth less than this, your children won’t get anything.

Your children will inherit all of your estate if you’ve not got a spouse or a civil partnership. They’ll each get an equal share of your estate.

And if you don’t have a partner or any children, your other relatives could get your estate. There’s an order of priority for this but it’s best to speak to a solicitor to see what this is.

If you have no close relatives or traceable family members, all your estate will belong to the Government or Crown under the law of ‘bona vacantia’.

Extra peace of mind – life insurance

Another method of safeguarding the future of your loved ones is to consider life insurance. Life insurance is a type of cover that pays out a lump sum or monthly sum to your family if the worst should happen. And if you write your life insurance policy ‘in trust’, it wouldn’t be included in your estate if you do write a will. Putting a life insurance policy in trust means you lay out who you want a pay-out to go to.

So if you have kids or a partner who relies on your income, it’s crucial to know they would have financial security if they had to cope without you. Any benefits they may be entitled to such as Widowed Parents Allowance or savings you put aside might cover them for a short while, but what would happen after this?

Depending on the cover you take, your family would be financially protected. This means they wouldn’t have to cover the mortgage, rent or other bills alone. 

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