Will you learn from Rik Mayall’s intestacy?
Rik Mayall the comedian and actor died unexpectedly in June 2014 and it has recently been reported that he died intestate – that is he did not make a Will. It is speculated that dying intestate could cost his family dearly as inheritance taxes will now be levied yet had there been a Will in place these could have been avoided. Inheritance tax liability isn’t an issue for everyone but with the high price of property nowadays it’s surprising how many people are now affected and therefore would want to minimise their inheritance tax liability.
However, the ramifications of having no Will reach wider than just inheritance tax mitigation. In October 2014 new rules were introduced regarding intestacy.
These can be summarised as follows:
You are married, childless and die without writing a Will - everything goes to your spouse or civil partner.
You are married, with children and die without making a Will - assets up to £250,000 go to the spouse or civil partner along with personal possessions and assets above that limit are split 50/50 between the spouse and the children.
You are unmarried, cohabiting with or without children and die without making a Will - cohabitee receives nothing and any children / grandchildren get everything. Where there are no children the deceased’s assets go to their siblings and parents. Where there are no children, parents or other family members the estate goes to the crown.
Head of Wills and Probate Linda Cummins warns of the problems with intestacy:
“Although the rules governing intestacy have changed recently the impact of them is the same, the rules dictate who inherits. This means that your dependents and family members may not be provided for as you would have wanted and any precious keepsakes may not end up with those family members or friends you intended to leave them to.
“Dealing with intestacy can be very stressful for families and can sometimes lead to arguments or, worse still, long standing rifts. Writing a Will avoids adding stress to your family at a difficult time when they will already be grieving.”
Content correct at time of publication