Case study of what happens if you don’t make a Will

Case Study of what happens if a Will is not made.
I once acted for a client who bought a property – she was in her thirties and she ran her own business, and there was absolutely nothing unusual about any of that.
Furthermore, she then got married and asked for the property to be put into the joint names of herself and her husband. Again nothing out of the ordinary in any of that.
Then unfortunately, she died. Under the rules of joint ownership, the property passed to her husband. This process was and is automatic and it was what she wanted. So the property was owned by the husband absolutely.
However, sadly the husband then died and as he hadn’t made a Will either, under the rules of Intestacy, the property went to his parents.
The rules of Intestacy are too complex to be set out in a short blog like this, but essentially as the surviving husband had no children or surviving spouse, his estate went to the next category and those were his parents.
The process is automatic and goes through regardless of fairness.
The only way the effects of intestacy can be avoided is by making a Will.
That is the point – if you have a Will, then YOU control the process. If the Will is watertight, then you can leave your estate to whom you like.
However, if you don’t make a Will, then the matter is decided by the state and by legislation. Your wishes or fairness are irrelevant.
Incidentally, do you know what happens if there is no Will and the deceased has no dependents – a situation which happens unfortunately quite often? Well, it goes to the Queen or (if it is in the counties of Lancashire or Cornwall) to the Prince of Wales!

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