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"We're married - we don't need to do a Will"

These are the words that solicitors hate to hear. It is a common misconception that being married means that if you don't have a Will, everything goes to your spouse. 

It will only go to your spouse in certain circumstances:  if you do not have children or if you have children and your estate is worth less than £250,000.

If you have children, the intestacy rules say that your personal chattels (in other words, your personal things) will go to your spouse along with the first £250,000. The balance of your estate will then be split equally between your spouse and your children.

What many people don't realise that your home could end up being part owned by your children if you own it as tenants in common. Your life insurance could also be included if it has not been written in to trust or is a joint policy.

There can be inheritance tax payable in those circumstances and if you have children under 18 or from a previous relationship, there can be further complications.

Why would you leave this to chance when you can make the decision what happens by making a Will. You can also make sure that someone can administer your estate straight away by appointing an executor, someone is available to look after your children if they are under 18 by appointing guardians and you can postpone the age at which your children inherit any money from you if you think that 18 is too young. 

Please note that the rules above relate to deaths after 1 October 2014.

For more information about the intestacy rules, Ken Norman and I have recorded a webinar

You can also contact me or one of the team to discuss your own particular circumstances.