Where does your money go, if you do not make a Will?

I’m not making a Will, if I die my spouse will get everything? Not necessarily…

Who should make a Will? EVERYONE!

If you die without making a Will then your assets (this includes money, property, personal possessions, shares, cars etc) will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules.

What are the intestacy rules?

The intestacy rules govern what happens to a person’s estate if they die without having made a Will, revoke a Will they previously made or make an invalid Will. In all these circumstances the intestacy rules will determine who inherits.

There is an order of priority which sets down who receives an estate and the order in which they receive it:

  1. The surviving husband or wife;
  2. The children of the deceased and the issue of any deceased child who died before the deceased;
  3. The father and mother of the deceased;
  4. Brothers and sisters of the whole blood and the issue of any deceased brother or sister of the whole blood who died before the deceased;
  5. Brothers and sisters of the half blood and the issue of any deceased brother or sister of the half blood who died before the deceased;
  6. Grandparents;
  7. Uncles and aunts of the whole blood and the issue of any deceased uncle or aunt of the whole blood who died before the deceased;
  8. Uncles and aunts of the half blood and the issue of any deceased uncle or aunt of the half blood who died before the deceased.

OK, so my spouse will get everything? No!

The spouse or civil partner currently receives:

  • all personal possessions
  • a statutory legacy of £270,000 (if there are children and issue) or £450,000 (of no children or issue)
  • The rest of the residuary estate is split equally into two halves. The spouse or civil partner takes one half absolutely and the other half on the statutory trusts either to children, parents or siblings.

It is not always the case that the spouse will get everything. It depends on the value of the assets and how they are held.

Example 1

Mr Meaby died on 3 March 2020 leaving a wife and two sons. His daughter Jane died in 2009 leaving two sons Barry and Harry. Mr Meaby’s estate is £1.2million including the house (£600,000) which is held in his sole name.

Mrs Meaby will receive a statutory legacy of £270,000, the personal possessions of Mr Meaby and then one half of the remainder absolutely. The remaining £465,000 will be divided as to one third each for John and Fred and the remaining one third (Jane’s share) for her sons Barry and Harry.

Mrs Meaby may feel that she does not have sufficient assets for the rest of her life and she may want to make a claim for reasonable provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975

Example 2

Mr Meaby dies on 3 March 2020 leaving a spouse and three siblings. Two other siblings died before him, one leaving 3 children and the other leaving none. Again Mr Meaby’s estate is £1.2million including the house (£600,000) which is held in his sole name.

Mrs Meaby will receive a statutory legacy of £450,000, the personal possessions of Mr Meaby and then one half of the remainder absolutely. The remaining £375,000 will be divided as to one quarter each for Bob, Marge and Jim. The remaining one quarter (Violet’s share) is for her sons Tom, Rob and Paul.

In the above example, would Mr Meaby want his siblings to inherit? Possibly not. This is why it is important to make a Will ensuring your estate goes where you want.

What happen if you don’t have a spouse, children, parents alive or siblings. We are then looking for cousins, second cousins etc. If there are no surviving relatives then the estate will pass to the Crown.

If you need a Will or more information on how your estate will be distributed then  please contact Esther Janalli-Brown on 01306 884432 or email ejbrown@meaby.co.uk for more information