Anthony Weber - Partner, Coles Miller

Don't Let Intestacy Threaten Your Family's Finances7th Jun 2016

by Anthony Weber on 7th Jun 2016

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Many people are taking a dangerous risk – one that could jeopardise their family’s financial future.

It’s the equivalent of letting misfortune befall them. Knowing full well that it’s going to happen. But doing nothing about it.

So what’s this huge risk? Intestacy. Citizens Advice reports a big rise in the number of anxious people phoning about it.

They’re in trouble because a loved one died without making a will – meaning the family could lose a fortune and/or suffer a bureaucratic nightmare.

A recent BBC report quotes a man who faced precisely this scenario when his cousin died:

  • £240,000 was lost unnecessarily to Inheritance Tax
  • the estate split was between 17 people who had never met the deceased.

One issue we see from time to time centres around live-in partners. Cohabitees do not inherit under the intestacy rules because are not married. Second and subsequent marriages can also cause difficulties.

Scary isn’t it? And all because someone didn’t make a simple will. It’s not expensive. It’s not complicated. So why do so many people put it off?

Some people are ‘too busy’. Really? Too busy to ensure your loved ones are taken care of? That does not make sense.

Others think that by making a will, they’re tempting fate. Clearly, they are not.

If anything, they should be thinking along the opposite lines. You know what life’s like: if you buy insurance, you can almost guarantee the risk will never happen!

But you buy the insurance anyway because it’s the sensible thing to do. Besides, death is the one risk that is guaranteed to happen. It’s not ‘if’; it’s ‘when’.

So do the right thing. Make a proper will. That ‘difficult’ conversation you need to have with your loved ones first will not be as awkward as you think.

Having ‘that conversation’ shows that you care what happens to them after you’ve gone – that you’re taking your family responsibilities seriously.

We’re here to help. Our solicitors can help you make sure your will is drafted correctly.

For sympathetic and expert advice on making a will or administering an estate, contact Coles Miller Solicitor Anthony Weber, a Partner at the firm and head of our Wills & Probate Department.