Monday, 3 August 2009

Without a Will There Can be Disappointed Relatives

According to new research from Which? Legal Service:

  • 56% of people surveyed do not have a will

  • 33% of those over 45 have yet to make a will

  • 35% aged over 65 feel that they don't need a will

Latimer Hinks is concerned that many people do not have a will, wrongly assuming that everything they own will automatically go to their spouse/partner or children. The distribution of estates where someone dies intestate (without a will) has recently changed the level of the statutory legacy – the amount a spouse or civil partner will receive.

For a widow(er)/civil partner where the deceased has children the statutory legacy has risen from £125,000 to £250,000. So, for most estates with a value of less than £250,000 the whole of the estate will pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner.

BUT if a couple are living together but have not made the union legal (by way of marriage or a civil partnership) and have not made wills then their estate will not pass onto the survivor.

The Which survey found that:

66% of couples did not know that their children would inherit if the coulple was not not married/had not entered into a civil partnership.

Today it is far more common for people to have been married more than once. A will can be vital in ensuring that any assets someone leaves go to the people they want to benefit, particularly if there are children from previous relationships.

77% did not realise that if both parents were to die, failure to appoint guardians for their children could result in the courts having a say in their future - and they could be raised by someone the parents wouldn't have chosen.

Michael Jackson's recent premature death highlighted the issues of what can happen to dependent children. Jackson Child Custody Case Highlights Problems with Parental Rights

The Which study also revealed:

43% were unaware that if a couple were separated but not divorced, that the estranged partner could inherit the bulk of the estate rather than the current partner or children.

For the full press release visit Without a Will there Can be Disappointed Relatives

For more information on who can inherit visit AdviceGuide

Please, take the advice of a professional legal adviser and ensure that if you have a will that it is up to date!

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