We all know the saying you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. For some people, their friendships run deeper and are much stronger than their family relationships. 💪 So what does that mean in regard to estate planning? If you think the two have little to do with one another, you’re in for a surprise! Non-legal relationships can play a huge role if you want them to. 💕
Non-legal relationships and the law
For those who have never heard the term non-legal relationship before, it refers to a social or personal relationship between two individuals that isn’t typically recognised by the law ((https://bequest.com/wills/). This can range anywhere from partners and stepchildren, to roommates, and even to friends.
When it comes to death and dying, the law will always win. That’s why it’s useful to have the law on your side when doing your estate planning. No need to panic or stress, it’s not nearly as overwhelming as you might think. However, here’s a perfect scenario to show how important it is to write a will ✍️ — especially if you want to provide for the people in your life which you’re not legally tied to.
Intestacy and partners
Let’s say you’ve been living with your partner for the past 10 years. 🏡 You never went down the route of getting married, or even registering your civil partnership — you do what’s best for you! However, if one of you dies without leaving a will, the surviving partner will not automatically inherit anything unless you owned property together. 🤯 Not only that, but if one of you leaves property to the other that is valued over a £325,000, you’ll have to pay inheritance tax on it! 😳
If you had registered the civil partnership, you could’ve avoided having to pay inheritance tax on the property. It’s worth noting that in a non-legal relationship, both parties need to include each other in their will if they want their assets to go to the other.
Intestacy and step-children
Another form of a non-legal relationship you might need to take into consideration when writing your will is step-children. Generally speaking, a child has no right to inherit from the estate of a step-parent unless their will explicitly says so, or the step-parent has legally adopted them. It’s easy to overlook the relationships that make up your family, because every family is different, but the law is currently the law.
Who does intestacy affect?
In the UK, estates in which there is no will are subject to the laws of intestacy. Currently, intestacy rules in the UK don’t allow for certain groups of people to inherit, including:
- unmarried partners
- close friends
- same-sex couples not in a civil partnership
- relations by marriage (step-children)
Dying without a will
This can mean that if you die without a will, your estate can go to your next of kin which sometimes might not be the person you would’ve chosen. 😕 If you have no family left at all, your estate ends up going to the Crown. So for those who have a better relationship with their friends (or chosen family) than with their family, make sure they’re taken care of by writing them into your will. 💛
Writing a will matters
We can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure that you put your wishes down in your will in order to ensure that your loved ones and closest friends are taken care of after your death. When a will exists, the wishes of the deceased must be carried out. 🙌 Wondering when to write a will? The time is now! Sign up with Bequest and you can start writing your will online while drinking your afternoon cuppa. 🫖