Taking Account

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Intestacy - What happens if there is no will!

May 2006

Intestacy is a legal term that describes an estate left without direction for distribution in a will.

The legal position is different in England and Scotland but the following general comments apply to both jurisdictions:

If you are married or in a formalised civil partnership.

Your spouse is entitled to a fixed distribution from your estate, (£125,000 England, property valued up to £130,000 plus £22,000 furniture etc. in Scotland).

Remainder may go to children, or other relatives depending on your circumstances.

If you are single

If you have no children - estate shared equally by surviving parents and brothers and sisters.

If you have children - estate shared equally by children.

As you can see from these notes surviving spouses and partners could be left with inadequate funds after your death, and this may be completely against your present wishes.

If you jointly own a business.

Your business partner may suddenly find a member or members of your family in complete or partial control.

Call to action!

The notes set out above simplify the effects of a complex subject - you should seek advice now if you have no will! Certainly we can advise how you can minimise inheritance tax payable when you die, and this strategic tax planning should be done before a formal will is drawn up.

Please call now if you would like us to create an inheritance tax strategy for your estate, especially if you have no current valid will. Even if you do have a will, the Revenue are currently seeking to attack trusts set up under wills (or indeed during lifetime). If the Finance Act 2006 is passed with these provisions, then a review of any existing will, will be vital.

Hilton Sharp & Clarke