What happens if... My partner dies without leaving a will?

Around 60% of adults in the UK still don’t have a will – even though dying without one could mean leaving loved ones without an inheritance, or, worse, homeless with no rights over the estate. Writing a will also ensures that your wishes are made clear to your family and it can help protect any dependents.

Despite the importance of writing a will, we are still not actually getting around to having them. People maybe think they are too young to have one, or, quite simply they don’t like to think about dying – which is quite understandable.

However, there is another common misconception that any assets will automatically pass to a partner or spouse. This isn’t always the case and the law states that you’re only entitled to inherit if you’re married or in a civil partnership – even then you won’t necessarily inherit the whole estate if you don’t have a will.

The law does not apply to couples who live together, even if they have done so for many years and have children together. In this instance, it is likely that any children will receive the estate in full, but only after the age of 18. Where there are no children, the estate will most likely pass to your parents, or, where they have died, any brothers or sisters. After that it will be any other relatives, and if you have none of those, your estate will pass to the crown.

The only way to ensure your estate goes to the people of your choosing is to write a will. It may seem like an expensive outlay, but you should consider the added expense to families if they die without a will.

The Private Client team at Downs Solicitors can help you with a number of matters relating to your will or Lasting Power of Attorney, contact us for more information.