Protecting those we leave behind.
The law of Intestacy in England and Wales can have far reaching effects on those who survive a deceased person. When we decide not to prepare a will we open up to those left behind a painful and lengthy process that could leave families divided and unhappy.
Many people wrongly assume that when they die their wife or civil partner will inherit the whole of their estate. Without a will the law of intestacy will come into force and this has specific rules on how an estate can be disbursed.
Currently, the surviving partner would inherit the first £250,000 plus chattels as an absolute right. The remainder of the estate would be split such that your spouse would receive 50% of the remaining estate and the other 50% would go to any surviving children once they reach the age of 18.
Whilst this provides a mechanism for dealing with a deceased's estate it does so in a rather clumsy manner and does not take into account any wishes the deceased may have had as to how their estate should be distributed.
That is why spending the time in preparing a will is a very worthwhile and ultimately satisfying process. You are able to ensure that those you treasure are adequately provided for and you have the opportunity to plan your affairs so that any tax due to HMRC can be dealt with in as fair a way as possible.
Also, consider what might happen to any children if both parents were to die at the same time. Without a will guardianship could be called into question and ultimately the children could be placed with social services and could end up in foster care.