Martin Lewis, the MoneySavingExpert.com founder, discuss “unpleasant” money issues, such as the one related to one’s assets after their passing.
Lewis explained that when a person dies their spouse is entitles to their belongings, but the same isn’t true if the couple wasn’t legally married. So, unmarried couples don’t possess automatic rights to their partner’s assets in the event of death no matter how long they had been together or whether they have children or not.
This, however, can change in case of existence of a will, which represents a legally binding document.
“A special point to anyone who is cohabiting – you’re not married and you’re not a civil partner. If you’ve been living together for 30 years and you’ve got nine children, it still means nothing in law, when it comes to a will,” he said on his Martin Lewis Money Show Live broadcast on ITV.
“Your partner wouldn’t get anything under the intestacy rules which dictate what happens when you die without a will. A will is crucially important to you.”
In case of a passing of a person who hadn’t left a will, their estate is distributed under intestacy rules, meaning those who inherit are the married or civil partner and some close relatives only.
In England and Wales, for example, the married partner is the first to inherit. Based on intestacy rules, they receive initial £322,000 of the estate. If the value is higher, then the spouse gets half of the remaining assets and the rest is divided among surviving children.
According to Lewis, the best way to settle who inherits what is to get a gold standard solicitor-drafted will. Further, he provides information on where and how to get this for free.
Free Wills Month is held twice a year, in March and October, for those aged over 55 and provides a free will in return for a charitable donation after death. The donations are around £300 to £500.
Will Aid, which happens annually, encourages donations to charities for basic “mirror wills” in a similar manner as Free Wills Month.
Basically, Lewis’ advice is that every person, married or not, should have a will.
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