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Legal News | 6.06.24

A Father’s Day gift: a new Will!

With Father’s Day next Sunday (16th June), the country prepares to celebrate all things “dad”, whether biological, step, or stepping up to the role of dad. Family arrangements are hugely varied in today’s society, and this can create some hurdles in estate planning.

For the unmarried couple, the law still doesn’t provide the same rights as a married couple. Without a Will, one’s estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules and the unmarried partner is not currently included in the list of beneficiaries. You may have seen our recent article on the difference between a joint tenancy and a tenancy in common in relation to property ownership (click here). In this article, we highlighted that the major difference between the types of ownership is that with a joint tenancy, the deceased’s interest in the property passes outside of a joint owner’s Will to the surviving joint owner.  With a tenancy in common, the interest passes in accordance with the deceased co-owner’s Will. In the absence of a Will, the unmarried partner could be left without any interest in their deceased partner’s share in the property.

The couple meeting later in life, after creating families with a previous partner, may wish to preserve their assets for their own bloodline. Again, without a Will, their estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules which could result in their spouse receiving the first £322,000 of the estate and 50% of any remaining assets.

A common misconception is that the Wills of married couples are binding on one another, however, this is not correct. The survivor is entitled to change their Will following the death of their spouse meaning they could leave their inheritance from their deceased spouse’s estate to their own bloodline and bypass the relatives of the deceased.

Having a valid Will is the only certain way to ensure your estate passes in accordance with your wishes. The Private Client team are experts in Will drafting and estate planning and we have encountered all varieties of family arrangements. To review your Will or put one in place, please get in touch with your usual contact at Wansbroughs or by emailing wealth@wansbroughs.com.