There’s nothing more certain in life than death.

Hopefully everyone reading this will live long, happy and healthy lives. But what about when your time comes? Have you put your affairs in order? Have you provided for your family? Have you made arrangements to ease the burden on your loved ones?

So what should you put in a will and what will happen if you don’t have one?

Michael Labrum, founder of Labrums Solicitors, said 

“Making a will is simple and relatively cheap but if done properly can prevent many problems and save a great deal of time and money.

“When you make a will you should decide who you want to carry out your wishes and deal with your assets (your executors), who you want to have custody of any infant children (guardians), if you want to make any particular gifts to friends, relatives or charities and who will receive the remainder of your assets after paying taxes and expenses.

“It is also an opportunity to consider mitigating inheritance tax or protecting the family from risks of tax, divorce or creditors in the future by using trusts.”

In England and Wales, if you do not leave a valid will and are married with children, you might assume that all of your assets would go to your spouse.

However, if your estate is worth more than £250,000, your partner will only get the first £250,000.

They will get a life interest in half of the remaining estate, which means they can’t get rid of it or spend it, but they are entitled to the interest.

The remainder will go to the children. If your assets are worth less than £250,000, your children will get nothing.

If you are not married or in a civil partnership, your partner won’t inherit under the intestacy rules.

Similarly, if you have separated but not divorced, your ex-partner will inherit the first £250,000 of your estate.

If you are childless and single, various family members could take varying shares of your estate.

If no one claims it, the Government will take everything.

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