Losing your significant other is undoubtedly one of the most gruelling experiences. However, things become more complicated if they didn’tleave a will. So, what happens when your significant other passes on without leaving a will? This article discusses your legal options and where you’ll find expert help.
There Is No Will – Now What?
• If you jointly owned your property, that is, all the property was in both your names, then it automatically becomes yours.
• If you own property separately, you retain what’s under your name, and your significant other’s property is divided according to the intestacy rules.
The Rules Of Intestacy
Note that intestacy rules apply only where you have a legally recognised union with the deceased. The rules also apply if you were informally separated but still legally married.
If the deceased’s estate is worth less than £270,000, you get to keep all of it. Similarly, if the estate is worth more, you get to keep all of it, provided there are no living children, grandchildren, or other direct descendants.
If there are such direct descendants, you’ll keep all assets that add up to £270,000, including property, and all personal possessions, despite their value. The rest of the estate will be divided where you’ll receive half of it, and the other half divided equally between the deceased’s children. The deceased’s grandchildren will receive the share meant for their parents.
Who Can Deal With The Deceased’s Estate?
Under peaceful circumstances, intestacy rules should ensure a smooth estate division. However, few cases proceed as smoothly, with relatives and other parties of interest staking a claim on an estate, further compounding the situation. Therefore, you’ll need to confirm your legal right to handle the estate.
The law recognises you as the person to handle your significant other’s estate since the responsibility falls on the closest living relative. You’ll need to confirm the legal right to handle the estate by applying for probate at the Probate Registry.
Before applying for probate, you need to find out what assets and debts your significant other held. Their bank and such financial institutions will inform you more. You’ll then need to estimate the value of the estate to determine whether you need to pay inheritance tax. If you need to pay inheritance tax, you must first report the estate’s value to the HMRC. Reporting it online gives you the chance to proceed with the probate application immediately.
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