News that Prince died without leaving a will is echoed by a You Gov survey showing that almost two thirds of British people do not have a will. The Citizens Advice Bureau says the number of enquiries about how to deal with an estate where there is no will has more than doubled over the last five years. The CAB has also seen a sharp rise in enquiries about wills that have not been signed and witnessed correctly meaning they are invalid.
If somebody dies without leaving a valid will, the intestacy rules set out who will benefit from their estate and who must carry out the administration. Unmarried partners have no right to inherit under the intestacy rules however long the relationship.
Making a will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out. It can also be used to assist with inheritance tax planning, to protect against care home fees, to appoint guardians for children and to set up trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries.
Anne Stockley, Senior Solicitor in our Wills, Trusts and Private Client Team