Wills & probate myth 1 – If you are married and do not make a will, then the whole of your estate will pass to your surviving spouse.

21st August 2013

Shelly Wainwright of Ansons Solicitors wills and probate team in Cannock, Staffordshire, explains: “This depends upon the value of your estate when you die”.

If your estate exceeds £250,000 then the value of your estate is shared between the surviving spouse and children in accordance with intestacy rules. The rules state that the surviving spouse receives the personal effects and the first £250,000 outright.

The value of the estate over this is divided into two shares – half for the children and the other half is held on a life interest trust for the surviving spouse. The trust allows your spouse to have the income earned on the capital but the capital itself is held in trust for the children and released when the surviving spouses dies. This may be completely contrary to your intentions.

The division of capital in this way can cause difficulties if the bulk of the family wealth is tied up in property. There are complicated rules for the surviving spouse’s life interest to be converted to a capital sum. However this can be expensive and time consuming and would be avoided by the preparation of a will.

For further, please contact Shelly Wainwright in the wills and probate team, on 01543 267984 or email Ansons Solicitors has offices in Cannock and Lichfield, Staffordshire.