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Does my husband or wife automatically inherit my estate?

View profile for Rachelle Nuttall
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If you pass away without a Will and are married or in a civil partnership, depending on the value of your assets you may be surprised to hear that your spouse may not receive all of your estate automatically.  

If you do not have a Will and have assets in your sole name over a certain amount then your spouse will only receive all of your personal chattels, the first £270,000 of your estate and half of the remainder.  If you have children, grandchildren or great grandchildren they will receive the other half of the remainder. If there are no children, grandchildren or great grandchildren then the whole estate would pass to the spouse.  

For example, if a husband held the house in his sole name valued at £300,000 and other assets with a value of £100,000, his wife would receive £270,000 and half of the remainder in the sum of £65,000 with the remaining £65,000 divided between the children. If the wife wishes to remain in the home, she may need to effectively buy a share of the property using monies received which may leave her short for the future in respect of liquid assets.  

Joint assets pass by survivorship regardless of a Will or the intestacy rules therefore if a married couple have a home in joint names but then one has assets over £270,000 the home would firstly go to the surviving spouse and the remainder split as above. 

A common misconception often arises in respect of unmarried couples, they would not automatically receive assets from a partner’s estate which are held in their sole name if their partner did not have a Will.  The intestacy rules do not provide for a ‘common law partner.’  

It is therefore very important based upon the potential issues that may arise to create a Will, this will create certainty as to where your estate will pass following your death with the knowledge that your loved ones are adequately provided for.

Our experienced Wills and probate team can assist you in making a Will which can ensure that your estate is split as you wish on your passing. Call our Will writing specialists today on 0161 696 6238.