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How to keep your inheritance from going to the state

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If you die without a Will, you die intestate. The intestacy rules set down a priority list of people who inherit an estate after death. The first to inherit is a surviving spouse or civil partner, which is then followed by children within the family, parents within the family and then remoter family members. If there are no family members, the state inherits.

It is important to write a Will to set out your intentions on death. If you don’t, the intestacy rules apply. All of the assets need to be dealt by the Will otherwise some parts of your estate pass under the intestacy rules and some parts won’t.

The intestacy rules establish the amount and type of assets people inherit. For instance, on the death of a married person their spouse receives £250,000 outright and all personal belongings. Their spouse will also be automatically entitled to 50% of the remainder above £250,000. This might be the intention if you’re married but it would be safer to ensure your wishes are contained in a Will. 

A Will can be particularly important if you have young children. The intestacy rules don’t let you choose a guardian. The intestacy rules don’t let you choose who will look after the assets. A Will gives you the choice and control.

We’ve seen recently, with the passing of high profile celebrities, the difficulties which can arise if there is no Will. To ensure your wishes are met, our specialist estate planning solicitors would be pleased to assist you. If you would like to discuss the various options for your Will please don’t hesitate to call us on 01616 966 229.