Don't leave your estate to chance: Safeguarding your legacy and avoiding intestacy pitfalls

Making the decision to prepare a Will can seem difficult and sometimes feel overwhelming. However, it is important to know the consequences to your estate if you were to pass away without a valid Will in place.

James Duncan, a Graduate Legal Executive specialising in Probate and Estate Administration, explains some of the pitfalls of not having a Will in place and the legislation that surrounds this.

The law dictates how your estate is to be divided amongst your family members and/or the Crown if you were to pass away without a Will. These are known as the rules of intestacy or intestacy provisions.

Legislation previously dictated that if you died leaving a spouse/civil partner and children, then a legacy of £270,000 plus personal possessions would be left to your spouse/partner. The remainder of your estate would be split equally between your surviving children (50%) and spouse/civil partner (50%). However, The Administration of Estates Act 1925 (Fixed Net Sum) Order 2023 was recently amended on 5 July 2023 and from 26 July the legacy will increase to £322,000.

There are many issues that can arise when administering an estate with there is no Will however, the most common being:

  1. If you have a long-term partner but are unmarried or not in a civil partnership, your partner will not be entitled to benefit from your estate nor will they be able to act in the administration under the intestacy provisions.
  2. If you pass away without close relatives, it may take some time to identify the person or persons entitled to act on behalf of your estate and they may not wish to act.
  3. If more than one person is entitled to act, the parties may not agree with the best course of action and this can cause unnecessary delays in administering the estate.

The best and most secure way to ensure your estate is divided in the manner that you wish it to be is by preparing a valid Will. Our team are able to advise and assist in preparing your Will. Contact our award winning Private Client team on 01258 459361 to let us know how we can help you.

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