When a person dies without a valid Will, their estate is shared out according to certain rules – the Rules of Intestacy and these rules can be harsh as they often don’t allow for modern family relationships.
Nowadays, it’s quite common for couples to co-habit rather than getting married but many couples don’t realise that if you don’t make a Will leaving your estate to your partner, then the rules of intestacy apply. This means that any money and/or property could go to someone else – and if you don’t have children, that could be your parents, or even a sibling and your partner could be left with nothing – which isn’t a great thought if you’ve lived together for many years. However, a partner can often make a valid inheritance claim instead, or the family can legally vary the distribution on intestacy to provide for the partner but that takes time and money.
The Rules also only recognise natural and adopted children for the purpose of inheritance and they don’t acknowledge stepchildren. Again, in many cases stepchildren can often have a valid claim but the process to sort this out can be protracted.
Battrick Clark Solicitors are experienced in resolving these sorts of issues and whilst not having a Will can increase the risk of dispute, we will find a way forward. No one likes to think about life after death but the only way to ensure your wishes are carried out, is to write a Will and make sure it is kept up-to-date.
If you have a question about contesting a Will, or you’re an executor and somebody else is contesting the Will, Battrick Clark’s specialist Wills division will be able to help you – contact us on 0117 973 1391.