Writing a Will? The legal information about property everyone must know

In English law, a person is entitled to leave his/her personal and real property to anyone he/she would like. Property includes agricultural and non-agricultural land, buildings, homes, cash, bank accounts, jewellery, car, investments, shares, stocks, paintings etc.

General Rule

As a general rule a person can leave his/her personal and real property under a Will to anybody he/she would like.

Excluded Properties

A person writing a Will must know that following property cannot be left under a Will. These properties will pass independently of the Will and rules of Intestacy.

  • Joint Property
  • Nominated Property
  • Insurance Policies
  • Pension Benefits

Joint Property

The properties which are jointly owned by the tenants, for example, a home or a joint bank account will pass independently of the Will. Upon the death of the joint tenant, his/her interest will transfer to the remaining (alive) tenant or bank account holder. Where a husband and wife own a home as joint tenants, upon the death of either husband or wife, the property will remain with the surviving partner. It is important to note that the house or land which is held on tenancy in common can be left in a Will or in the absence of Will, will be part of Intestacy.

Nominated Property

These are the properties where a beneficiary is nominated and upon the death of the person, the nominated property will be transferred to the chosen nominee. Discretionary pension schemes, deposits in certain trustee saving banks, friendly societies, individual provident societies fall under nominated property category. A nominee could be a third party as well.

Pension Benefits

Pension benefits upon the death of an employee are paid to the members of the family of the employee or dependants chosen by the employee at his/her discretion. Pension benefits which mature at the death of an employee will pass on independently of the rules of Will or Intestacy.

Insurance Policies

Insurance policies which are taken out for the benefit of a particular person, for example, a spouse or child or somebody else will pass independently of the Will or rules of Intestacy. Upon the death of the policyholder, any benefit arising due to the maturity of the Insurance policy will belong to the specified individuals. For example, a husband takes life insurance for the benefit of his children, upon the death of the husband the children will be automatically entitled to the proceeds of the life insurance.

However, a simple life insurance policy, where the benefit of the policy belongs to the policyholder, such policyholder can leave the proceeds of the policy to anyone he/she wishes to.

For further Information, guidance and advice visit www.legalally.co.uk.

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