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What Happens If You "Pop Your Clogs" Without Making A Will?

View profile for Paul Hajek
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popping your clogsEver thought about where the expression Popping Your Clogs originates?

Well, apparently, clogs were once a valuable commodity in Holland and would fetch a nice sum when pawned after death.

Popping your clogs is now a quite common euphemism when we talk about dying.

But what if you popped you clogs and you hadn’t made your Will?

What would happen to your property, savings and the rest of your estate?

The Consequences of Not Making A Will Before You Die

You’ve heard the phrase “Last Will and Testament” but did you know that if you die without making a Will you die 'Intestate'

The State steps in when you are “Intestate” and applies very certain and strict rules that dictate how your assets will be distributed after your death.

Not for nothing do we lawyers refer to those rules as the dreaded Intestacy Rules.

And, guess what, the State dictates who should inherit your assets - not you or your surviving relatives.

Big Clue: It’s not always who you might think! and it may not be the way you would have wished your money and possessions to be divided out.

Bottom line: when you fail to make a Will before you die you give up your right to decide what happens to all your property, cash and possessions.

Would you really want to take such a risk?

Could you be in one of the categories most at risk?

Unmarried Partners

If you are unmarried or not in a registered civil partnership it could be bad news.

Your partner may get nothing, nada, zip, zilch!

An unmarried partner does not automatically inherit from his or her partner.

Even where you have been living with someone for many years your partner may get nothing.

Worst case scenario: your partner might lose their home or end up going through the expense and additional stress of going to Court.

When you die without making a Will at worst you may have created an ideal breeding-ground for a family dispute.

Nasty.

Separated Partners or Spouses But Not Yet Divorced?

Deep breath…

Your ex may get the lot!

Did I mention previously about ideal breeding grounds for family disputes?

Partners or Spouses with Children in a Modestly Priced Home

If your home is worth more than £250000 and you have children the Intestacy Rules can be particularly nasty.

The family home may need to be sold to fall inside the strict (dreaded) Intestacy Rules.

The intestacy Rules state that where your estate and other assets (but you can deduct any mortgage) are worth more than £250,000 your spouse or partner will be given £250,000. The remaining balance would be dived equally between your children and your spouse or partner.

If your children are under 18 or over 18 (and how shall we say – less accommodating) it may force a sale of your home.

Did I mention previously about ideal breeding grounds for family disputes?

Children, Grandchildren, Friends and Charities

No great surprise that if you die without making a Will and the Intestacy Rules kick in that great friends, favourite Charities let alone children and grandchildren may miss out on inheriting your estate.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Peace of Mind Which Comes With Making A Will

I think you will agree there could be many unforeseen problems if you don’t make your Will.

But on the flip side just think about the warm glow of satisfaction and peace of mind you get when you set about thinking about making a Will and then actually complete that task.

You can make arrangements for your family or dependants; gift your prize assets; make gifts to your favourite charity or other deserving causes; provide for your pets.

You can make sure that only the most capable and trusted of people administer your estate and carry out your wishes.This could be your spouse or partner, your solicitor or your best friend.

If calamity strikes you and you have young children who survive you, you can appoint Guardians to look after them.

Let’s not forget tax reasons either as ensuring your Will is as tax efficient as possible will keep the long arms of the Government away from your assets and reduce your liability to Inheritance Tax.

Did I mention previously about ideal breeding grounds for family disputes?

By writing down your wishes in a clear and unambiguous Will you can almost certainly avoid disagreements amongst family members after your death

Making a Will will also reduce the risk of disputes after your death.

And surprisingly perhaps for all the benefits of doing so making a Will is not as expensive as you might think. What price for the peace of mind you will feel​

Making a Will Can Be a Tough Call

We don’t like having to think about our own mortality.

We can procrastinate – big time.

You may even still have one of Will Questionnaires pinned to a notice board in your kitchen.

You may not need to rush but you can’t keep putting off making your Will

We have a Plan for You

We’ve put together a series of emails which go into greater detail about aspects of making your Will.

Gentle reminders, if you will (or should that be Will?) once a month over the next year or so to keep the idea front of your mind.

We’ve called the series Life Liberty and Happiness.

You can sign up below entirely without commitment but it will assuage any guilt you may have that you have not quite got round to making your Will.

So, before, someone else decides what happens to your clogs, make sure you make a Will.

Receive Our Life, Liberty and Happiness Newsletter

Paul Hajek

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