Wills & Probate
A Will is a signed legal document (by you and witnesses to this) that lets you decide what happens to your estate; money, property and possessions etc. after your death. Making a Will ensures that when you die your estate is shared according to your wishes.
If you are not married (which includes civil partnerships) then when you pass away your partner has no legal right to inherit any of your assets.
Your Will can only manage assets you own at the time of your death it cannot protect your assets whilst you are alive. If you want to protect your assets during your life, then it is essential you use Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Your childrens' inhertance will automatically be looked after by trustees.
Your trustees are often the same people who would have sorted out your affairs after death, but this is not always the case and it may be that someone is appointed to act in this role who you wouldn’t have chosen.
The best way to make your wishes known regarding your children’s inheritance is to make a Will.
Not only can your Will clearly set out who should be appointed to manage your children’s inheritance, you can also advise when they receive their inheritance (you may understandably feel that 18 is too young to inherit) and you can provide directions to your trustees on what they should do with the funds whilst your children are under age.
Can I leave money to look after my pet?
Yes, you can make a gift conditional, so you can stipulate that an amount of money should only be given to a beneficiary if certain conditions are met.
In this case it could be on the condition that they take your dog into their care for the rest of its life.
You can also make a gift to an animal charity on the same condition.
You need to ensure that any gifts made in this way are clearly worded so you can be confident that you will achieve the outcome that you want.
Living with a Partner - What would happen to them if you died?
If you are happily living with your partner, you might not yet have considered what would happen after one of you dies. If you die in England or Wales without a valid Will in place the rules of intestacy will apply, and this will dictate who should inherit from you. You may be surprised to read that if you are not married or have not formed a civil partnership before you die, your partner will not be entitled to anything under the rules of intestacy. The rules of intestacy are strict and will only take into consideration married spouses, civil partners and blood relatives. Unfortunately, even in circumstances where partners may have lived together for years and would have wanted to benefit each other on their deaths, this will not change the automatic inheritance rules and your partner would still not be entitled.