Head of Wills & Probate | Private Wealth | UK Succession and Tax
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In England and Wales we are able to leave our estate on death to anyone we choose. This is known as testamentary freedom. In this guide we give you guidance on what your Will can include, what happens in the absence of a Will and how you can start the process of creating your Will.
A Will is the means by which you can:
By taking advice and putting in place a Will, you can make sure that you have dealt with your estate in the best possible way for you and your family. You can make the appropriate decisions to rest assured that the assets will pass to the correct beneficiaries and won't be governed by the intestacy rules which are very strict and don't make allowances anyone you may wish to benefit outside of the family line.
Your Will will deal with assets which you own in your sole name, or jointly with another person as what is known as "tenants in common". This is a form of joint ownership where your share of the joint property will pass in accordance with the terms of your Will. This is most commonly seen where property is owned with another person, but you may not wish for the joint owner to inherit the property outright on your death. There are many reasons why this may be the case, and it is particularly important to make a Will in these circumstances, so that you protect not only your share of the property, but you also make sure that you have provided any necessary protection for your surviving co-owner.
There are some assets which will generally not pass under your Will:
If you do not have a valid Will in place on your death, the intestacy rules will govern what happens to your estate.
If you are survived by a spouse or civil partner, and no children, your spouse/civil partner will inherit your entire estate.
If you are survived by a spouse or civil partner and children, your spouse/civil partner will inherit £270,000 (or your entire estate if it is worth less than this amount), together with all of your personal belongings and one half of the remainder of your estate (known as your residuary estate). The remaining one half of your residuary estate will be divided between your children at the age of eighteen.
If there is no surviving spouse or civil partner, the order of inheritance is set out under the rules as follows:
The intestacy rules are strict and do not allow for cohabiting couples, charities or anyone else you may wish to benefit outside of the family line.
We can support you with making your Will.