It is a common presumption that those who are married do not need to make a Will, as the estate will pass automatically to their spouse. Only for some individuals will this be correct. We would always recommend you consider the value of your estate and any other wishes you may have before you disregard the need for a Will completely.
Where an individual passes away without leaving a Will, the estate will pass in accordance with the rules of intestacy. This means that, provided you are married and have children, your spouse will inherit your estate up to the value of £250,000 and any personal belongings regardless of the value. If your estate exceeds £250,000, your spouse will get an absolute interest in half of the remainder and the other half will be divided between any children.
The rules of intestacy will, of course, have differing effects if you do not have any children or are not married or in a civil partnership. It is important to remember that the intestacy rules do not allow for property to pass to unmarried partners.
It is therefore important to consider your family circumstances carefully and the value of your estate, especially if it exceeds £250,000, when deciding whether to make a Will. If you are unsure as to whether you will need to put a Will in place, we would recommend speaking to one of our specialist solicitors in the Wills & probate department for a fixed fee advice appointment. We can discuss your specific circumstances and requirements and the best options available for you.
If you would like further information on making a Will or would like to discuss this with one of our specialists, you can contact the Wills & probate team on 0175 321 6399.
By Stacy Kinsey, fee earner in the Wills and probate team