It is incredibly important to make a Will to ensure that your estate passes as you intend.
In England and Wales, there is a statutory set of rules which apply if you die without leaving a Will (Intestate) when your estate will be divided according to this set of rules, irrespective of your wishes. Your spouse/civil partner may not automatically receive all of your estate.
If you have children, grandchildren or great grandchildren
Your spouse/civil partner will receive all your personal possession, the first £250,000 of your estate in your sole name and a half share of the remainder of your estate in your sole name over this value.
The other half of your estate over this limit will pass directly to your children.
All children are treated equally including adopted children but step children will not be included.
They will receive their inheritance when they reach the age of 17 or if they marry or enter into a civil partnership before they are 18.
If your estate is worth £250,000 or less, your children will receive nothing.
If you are not married/in a civil partnership, or you have divorced or ended your civil partnership, your children will inherit the whole of your estate.
If you have separated but are still married/in a civil partnership, your spouse/civil partner may inherit, even though you no longer live together.
If you have no children, grandchildren or great grandchildren
Your spouse/civil partner will receive all your personal possession and the remainder of your estate.
Any assets your hold jointly will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner and will not be subject to the Intestacy Rules.