The 10th anniversary was marked last week of the death of singer Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of 27. Amy died without a will, in common with other celebrities such as Prince and Aretha Franklin, who also died intestate. Amy’s estate was reportedly worth around £4.2m before debts and taxes, leaving almost £3m passing to her parents under the intestacy rules.
If you die without leaving a will, your assets will be divided according to the intestacy rules and may not pass to the people you would choose. Your estate is also at risk of being subject to a large inheritance tax bill, as the intestacy rules will not necessarily distribute your estate in the most tax efficient manner.
It was reported last year that nearly 60% of adults in the UK do not currently have a will – arguably one of the most important legal documents in your life. You can choose, through your will, where your assets are distributed, and you can make the choices which make the most sense in tax terms.
Anyone over 18 can make a will – if you buy property, move in with someone, have a baby or inherit money, these are all times when making a will would be a good move to make, so that you can make sure your loved ones are protected.
So whether you are 18 or 80, half of an unmarried couple who own a house together, or married with three kids, your will is an important way to protect your loved ones and make sure you leave your assets as you choose, not according to set rules outside your control.