It recently hit the news that Daniel Craig has said that he is not planning to share his fortune with his children, branding inheritance ‘distasteful’. His net worth is said to be in the region of $160 million. In a recent interview discussing the topic, he said:
“Isn’t there an old adage that if you die a rich person, you’ve failed?”
The actor has two children, one daughter from a previous marriage, aged 29, and a two-year-old daughter with his wife Rachel Weisz, who has a teenage son from a previous marriage.
Aged 53, Daniel Craig said, “My philosophy is get rid of it or give it away before you go”. This is all good and well providing you have managed to spend the money how you wish before you die.
Some may share the same philosophy as Daniel Craig and plan to spend their money during their lifetime but what would happen in the event that you died unexpectedly or a lot sooner than you might have expected to?
What happens if I die without making a Will?
Without making a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy as set out in Section 46 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 which would provide for the following:
- If you are married or in a civil partnership when you die and do not have any children then the whole of your estate would be left to your spouse or civil partner;
- If you are married or have a civil partner and you have children when you die, your estate would be distributed as follows:-
Your spouse/civil partner will receive:
- Your personal possessions, whatever their value;
- The first £270,000 of your estate;
- Anything over £270,000, your spouse/civil partner will inherit half of the remaining sum and your children will receive the other half.
- If you do not have a spouse/civil partner or any children, the rules provide for your estate to go to the following providing they are alive at your death: parents; siblings; grandparents; aunts/uncles; and if none of the above are still living, everything passes to the Crown.
If you have a partner and are not married or in a civil partnership, they will not inherit under the rules of intestacy, therefore you must make a Will if you want them to receive your estate.
In addition, without a Will, people or organisations such as charities which you may have preferred to benefit from your estate will miss out and potentially large sums could be paid in tax which otherwise may have been reduced or avoided.
I want to make a Will but I do not want to leave it to my spouse/civil partner or children?
If you make a Will but decide to leave certain categories of people out of your Will, such as your spouse/civil partner, children or other dependents, then there is a risk of claims being made against your estate and/or assets. They can include a claim for reasonable financial provision from your estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and/or potentially a claim that an individual has a beneficial interest in a property that you owned when you died.
To succeed in these claims, claimants do need to be able to fulfil certain criteria and have evidence to support them.
Whilst some people may share the same ideas as Daniel Craig, it can lead to difficulties and risks to claims as highlighted above. The safer option is to ensure that you have plans in place for your estate that you are happy with to ensure that your wishes can be carried out.
How Nelsons can help
If you have any questions concerning the topics discussed in this article, please contact a member of our Dispute Resolution team in Derby, Leicester, or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online enquiry form.