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The “I don’t need a Will, everything will go to my spouse anyway” Myth

In a series of articles, Sarah Nash, Solicitor and Head of Astle Paterson’s Wills and Probate Department sets out to bust commonly held beliefs that are in fact myths about what happens to your assets and loved ones on your death.

Sarah said “It is a common misconception that should you die without a Will, all of your Estate will pass automatically to your surviving spouse.   Unfortunately, this is a myth – the Intestacy Rules dictate how your Estate will actually be distributed should you die without a Will.

If you are married when you die, as at date, these rules provide your spouse will receive up to £250,000 of your assets together with your personal possessions.

Should there be anything remaining thereafter, then it will then be divided into two parts – your surviving spouse will receive one half absolutely and the other half will go to your children.

It is only in the situation where you die without a Will and do not have children that your surviving spouse will inherit your full Estate.”

Sarah continued “Matters are further complicated by the fact that jointly owned homes or other assets may pass automatically to the other joint owner outside of these rules.

Indeed, should you jointly own your home with your spouse, it would depend how you hold the legal title of your property as to whether the house would either automatically pass to your spouse in addition to other sums due to them under the rules, or as part of the spouses £250,000 share of your Estate.

It will of course be important to you that when you die your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes.

Without a Will, you leave this in the hands of the Government’s Intestacy Rules which can and do change over time and could potentially leave your surviving spouse without sufficient financial provision.”

Sarah concluded “The process of making a Will at Astle Paterson could not be easier for our clients.  We offer fixed fee Wills and our experienced Wills and Probate team are able to move swiftly following an initial discussion you to having your Will in place within ten days.   In fact, the whole process will often only take an hour or two of your time.”

Should you like to meet with one of our specialist Wills and Probate Lawyers, please telephone the Department’s direct telephone line on 01283 743969.

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