Do I need to update my Will if I get married?

True or False: “100% of your estate automatically goes to your spouse if you die”

The average married couple seems to share everything – but if one of you were to die without a will, do you think your estate would automatically pass to the other?

Common misunderstandings about your spouse, your Will and your kids…

Many couples choose to share absolutely everything – finances, property, businesses… troubles and successes. They share with their ‘other half’ because, to them, it’s the obvious thing to do.

One of the times when life doesn’t always work that way is when couples with children pass away without making a Will. And 3 in 4 people do just that.

When there’s no Will, a strict set of ‘Intestacy’ rules has to be followed, and these rules take no account of the individual’s wishes.  This means that your hard-earned money and property, called your “estate,” may not end up with the people you want or expect it to.

People assume that because they’re married, everything will automatically pass to their spouse. But that’s not always the case

In many cases, everything does indeed pass to the surviving spouse.  However, where the value of the estate is more than £270,000 and there are children (or grandchildren), the Intestacy Rules can reduce the surviving spouse’s entitlement because, in these circumstances, the children or grandchildren may also have rights in the estate.  In very basic terms, the Intestacy Rules state that the surviving spouse is entitled outright to the first £270,000.  The rest of the estate is then divided into two halves – one half going to the surviving spouse and the other half going to the children or grandchildren (even if the family home has to be sold to raise the funds for this).  

If that’s not how you’d choose to divide your estate between your spouse, children and anyone else, talk to us about making or updating your Will. We can make sure that your wishes are followed if the worst happens.

Remember, too, that marriage usually cancels an existing Will.  See our separate blog for help with this: Cutting down on life admin: How a will in expectation of marriage could be the answer

3 out of 4 people die without a Will, but making a will is an easy solution to the intestacy trap

Having a Will is vital to ensure that the property and assets you’ve worked so hard to accumulate, pass to the people you have chosen.

Your Will must be very carefully drafted to ensure that it will take effect in the way you want it too – even the seemingly smallest mistake when writing or signing a Will can render it invalid. This makes it doubly important to have your Will drafted by a qualified professional.

Our lawyers are highly qualified Wills specialists and offer value-for-money advice. Our Wills for individuals start from as little as £200 (plus VAT), including a no-obligation consultation to assess your needs. For more information, or to prepare your Will, call us on 0800 614 722 or use the button to contact our Private Client team below:

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