Q: My partner and I are both in our seventies with no immediate family. We live separately and own our homes. I made a new Will recently, leaving my entire estate to charity. My partner refuses to discuss making a Will. In a bid to make him see sense, please can you explain what happens if you die and have not made a Will?
A: If you die without making a Will, your debts and funeral expenses are paid for out of your estate and, under the Rules of Intestacy, the remainder of your estate must be distributed in a specific way.
If you have a spouse/civil partner but no children, your spouse/civil partner will receive your entire estate. If you have a spouse/civil partner and children, your spouse/civil partner receives the first £270,000 of your estate and all personal possessions, regardless of their value, and the remainder of your estate is split into two equal shares with your spouse/civil partner getting 50% and the other 50% being shared between your children or grandchildren if their parent is deceased.
If you have children but no spouse/civil partner, your estate is divided equally between your children. If you have no spouse/civil partner or children but have parents, your estate goes in equal parts to your parents, or in entirety to the surviving parent if one is deceased. If your only relatives are brothers and sisters, your estate is shared equally between them, with the children of any deceased siblings taking their parents’ share. If you have only uncles or aunts, or separately only nieces and nephews, your estate is divided equally between them. If you only have more distant relatives, your estate is divided equally between the nearest equal relationship.
If, as in your partner’s case, you die leaving no surviving relatives, your entire estate goes to the Crown. Your partner would therefore be wise to make a Will, leaving his hard-earned assets to a better cause.
This question has been answered by Victoria Wilson, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194