If you have not made a Will your legal estate will be left in accordance with the rules of intestacy. As a rule of thumb your next of kin will benefit. If you are married your spouse will benefit from your estate irrespective of whether you have children. When couples separate they often do not wish this to occur and it is a good time to consider whether you wish to make a Will.
If you have already made a Will you may wish to change your Will and it is important to obtain the right advice. Davies and Partners has a specialist Wills, Trusts and Probate team who can advise you as to the best course of action.
Another important aspect is if you jointly own a property with your former spouse or partner. If you own the property as joint tenants then your share of the property will automatically be inherited by the surviving partner (and vice versa) in the event of death. If this is not desirable you can take action by "severing the joint tenancy". This means that a notice is sent to your ex-partner notifying them that you are converting the joint tenancy to a tenancy in common. The notice should be acknowledged and then registered with the Land Registry. The effect of the severance means that your share of the property will form part of your legal estate. It is still important to consider making or changing your Will. You should always remember that if your ex partner dies you will only automatically receive their share of the property if there is a joint tenancy although you may stand to receive their share by virtue of their Will or under the rules of intestacy.
If you are not married your partner will not automatically inherit your property. If you are unmarried and you would like your partner to benefit from your Estate on your death you do need to make a Will. The term 'common law wife' or 'common law husband' has no legal meaning. If you are unmarried and do not have a Will in place then your partner does not automatically benefit from your Estate
You should consider whether to appoint testamentary guardians in relation to your children. This can be achieved in your Will.
Further you should consider the impact of tax for which specialist advice is recommended. We can assist you in estate planning.