There are still many families in the UK whose assets will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules – and all because a deceased member of the family did not prepare a Will.

What are the intestacy rules?

Let’s say that the family breadwinner dies leaving a surviving spouse or civil partner and two children. Without a Will the estate will pass as follows:

  1. The surviving spouse receives: all the deceased’s personal property; a statutory legacy of £250,000; and a life interest in any excess over £250,000, the residue.
  2. The children receive the other half of the residue in equal shares.

These rules may reflect the wishes of the deceased person, but they may not. The problem is, without a Will, the letter of the law will apply.

This month many solicitors across the UK support a charity called Will Aid (www.willaid.org.uk). Instead of paying a solicitor you make a donation of £90 for a basic Will or £135 for a pair of “mirror” Wills. The proceeds are distributed to one of nine major UK charities.

Those of us with aging parents may also need to consider Power of Attorney options.

Sorting out these basic items, a properly prepared and executed Will and Powers of Attorney (if required), will save you anxiety and stress when you have to deal with the practicalities of bereavement or loss of competence to manage one’s affairs. Don’t leave either eventuality until it’s too late.

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