Many people believe that it is not necessary to make a Will and in some cases this may be true. However, the only positive way to ensure that your property and belongings pass to your loved ones and/or chosen charities is to make a valid Will during your lifetime. If you own assets jointly with another person then you may be satisfied that these assets will pass automatically to the survivor upon your death. However, in certain circumstances this depends upon the basis of your joint ownership. We will be happy to advise you regarding any concerns.

If you have not made a Will, your estate will be handled according to law by what are known as the intestacy rules.



If you are married or in a civil partnership

with children:


From 1 February 2009, your spouse or civil partner will receive everything up to £250,000 plus your ‘chattels’ (certain personal items specified by law).

Anything over this £250,000 limit and personal items will be divided in two:

- One half will pass to your children at 18 years and

- The remaining half will be held in trust for your children subject to your spouse/civil partner receiving the income during their lifetime.  


If you are married or in a civil partnership

with no children:


From 1st February 2009 your spouse or civil partner will receive everything up to £450,000 and the personal items mentioned.

Anything over this £450,000 limit will again be divided in two:

- One half will pass outright to your spouse/civil partner

- The remaining half will pass to your parents or if they have predeceased you to your brothers/sisters (or their children if any brother/sister has died before you)


This is how the law says your estate will be dealt with if you have not made a Will:

It is particularly important to ensure that you have made a Will if you are not married or have entered into a valid civil partnership.   

In law your partner, whom may have lived with you for many years, does not have the same rights as a spouse or civil partner.  

If have not made provision for them in your Will they may have to apply to the Court for financial provision which (if successful) may not be as generous as you would have wished.

This also applies if your partner has children of their own.  

If you have no Will then there is no entitlement under the intestacy rules for children if they are not your natural or adopted children.

A Will also gives you the ability to ensure that your children and dependants are cared for in the way you would wish if you were to die. You would be able to appoint guardians for your infant children and perhaps consider who would be appropriate trustees for a disabled beneficiary.


Find out more about Inheritance Tax