Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, issued a stark warning to people living in England who don’t have a will in place, advising that the rules of intestacy will decide where your assets go upon your dying, not you.
The consumer finance expert issued the warning at the start of his Martin’s Money Show Live programme broadcast on 14th March 2023 on ITV. (Available to stream on ITVX.)
“Intestacy Rules, they are complex”
Speaking on the show, Martin said: “Now if you die without a will, it is the state – not you – who decides where your assets go. It’s called the Intestacy Rules, they are complex – not just to say – and they vary by UK nation. So let me give you an example.
“You’re married in England, you’ve got children. The first up to £270,000 of your assets go to your spouse. The rest is then equally divided between your spouse and the other half is divided amongst each child. But if you want to define where your assets go, that’s up to you and you have a choice.
“You would not get anything without a will”
“And the mechanism we use for that is called a will – that way you decide. If you’re cohabiting and you’ve lived together for 20 years and you’ve got 17 children – that doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law. You would not get anything without a will.
“So it’s even more important in those situations. I’d also suggest you consider a cohabitation agreement of what happens if you were to split up if you’re not married.”
While for some writing a will may seem a scary thing, the process is relatively easy and while not cheap, it is a good investment for those who are unmarried, in blended families, and/or have assets that would take them over the inheritance tax limit.
For couples who marry and subsequently divorce, it is important that you review any will you have to ensure your assets go to the right person. As Martin said on his programme: “If you have [a will] make sure it’s up to date – you don’t want to leave it to your ex-husband or your ex-wife if you don’t want it to go to them anymore, and you may well be doing that.”
Wills are not something you need to think about every day, but don’t leave it till it’s too late. Make a will today.
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