Rik Mayall died suddenly last year aged only 56 and unfortunately for his family he didn’t write a Will, even though he had a brush with death in 1998.
He leaves behind a £1.2million estate for his wife and family to sort out. As there is no written Will declaring his wishes, the estate would be divided according to UK Government intestacy rules, which take into account marital status, children or surviving relatives.
Under intestacy rules, Rik Mayall's children will be automatically entitled to a share of his net estate after the funeral and legal expenses, meaning that they are likely to inherit an amount liable for inheritance tax.
Any amount of tax payable would depend on the value of Mayall’s chattels (personal belongings) that would automatically go to his wife. His wife will also receive £250,000 under the intestacy rules.
By law, Mayall's children will then get half the remaining amount of the estate, creating a potential tax bill if the amount is more than the inheritance tax limit of £325,000.
Inheritance tax is 40% on any amount over £325,000, or 36% if you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity. The tax is payable by the end of the sixth month after the person has died. If it is not paid by this time then the estate has to pay interest. If you know that it is likely that inheritance tax will be due you can make early payments before you know the final amount.
If you do not write a Will the intestacy rules dictate who inherits what under your estate, which may mean that members of your family receive less than they would if you had split it yourself. When you write a Will you can state how your money should be divided, and if done properly with expert advice, you can avoid your loved ones losing out by paying large sums in tax.
Making a Will is vitally important, no matter how large or small your estate. Getting it written by a legal professional means that there won’t be any confusion or misinterpretation after you’re gone. If you would like more information or expert legal advice our expert teams of Wills and Probate lawyers at Slater and Gordon can help. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you.
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