Government inherits £8m for people dying without a Will

Published: 06/11/2014

Hands up who would knowingly leave their estate and assets to the government? Not many we’re sure and yet in 2013 the government received £8m because people did not make a Will.

According to latest figures from the Law Society the majority of people in the UK do not have a Will; 73 per cent of 16-54 and 36 per cent of people over 55 have yet to make their final wishes clear in a valid Will. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of people questioned wrongly assumed that without a Will their loved ones would automatically inherit their possessions.

If you die without making a Will your assets are distributed under the rules of intestacy. This means, depending on your circumstances, the government could inherit your possessions.

The government would inherit your possessions before:

  • Unmarried partners
  • Unadopted and/or Stepchildren
  • Friends
  • Charities.

In addition to the £8m inheritance, the government will also receive close to £6bn from inheritance tax by 2018. However, with the help of a qualified solicitor, you could minimise or even alleviate your inheritance tax altogether as Linda Cummins explains:

“There are several things you can do to reduce the amount of inheritance tax. However the first step is to make a Will. Your solicitor will then be able to examine your situation to try and find ways to minimise your liability possibly through your Will and during your lifetime. This can include leaving or making gifts to charity, contributing towards a child or grandchild’s wedding or making tax-free gifts.”

If your assets are valued at more than £325,000* then your estate is liable for inheritance tax, currently taxed at 40 per cent over this threshold amount.

*Current single nil rate band

Show All Articles