It fills me with dread what my 18 year old daughter would do with her inheritance
We love our kids sometimes/all the time! They are probably your most precious treasure in the whole wide world yet an extraordinary number of them have zero protection should they lose one or both parents because there is no will in place!
If you have children under the age of eighteen, you should name people you and your children trust to look after their well-being if you die by making a Will. You can rest assured that your children will be adequately protected if these wishes are clearly stated in your Will.
There are lots of ways to get a will, through specialist companies, solicitors or some of the ‘better’ online services and they will assist you in drafting a will that names both Guardians and Trustees for your minor children. Do it. For most people it will take less time than it does to mow the lawn.
If you have children over the age of eighteen and you die in England or Wales without leaving a Will, your estate (your home, car, bank accounts, investments, and anything else you own) will be distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy, which determine who will inherit your estate after you pass away.
The Intestacy Rules state that all children, regardless of their financial situation or maturity level, are entitled to an outright inheritance at the age of 18. If your children are entitled to benefits, the Intestacy Rules state that your estate will be divided equally among all of your children (excluding stepchildren), which may not be what you want at all and with children born out of wedlock and divorces and second marriages becoming ever more normal this really does need setting out.
Making a will can help ensure that your adult children receive the most from their inheritance. It's possible that you'd prefer that they inherit at the age of 21 or 25, or that you'd prefer that they receive a portion of their inheritance at the age of 18 and the rest later. Writing a will also ensures that money or other donations given to your children during your lifetime are taken into account, reducing the likelihood of family feuds after you pass away.
If you're a stepparent and you want to leave anything to a stepchild after you die, you must make it clear in your will; otherwise, they will not inherit any of your money, property, or belongings. The 1925 Rules of Intestacy do not reflect the diversity of today's relationships, and in fact, they completely ignore stepchildren!
If you're in a relationship but not married or in a civil partnership with your partner and you die without a will, your children will inherit all of your property and belongings in your estate, leaving your new partner with nothing. You will definitely have read about this in the papers because it happens a lot.
If you've married or entered into a civil partnership and die without a will, your new spouse or partner will automatically inherit the first £250,000 of your estate, potentially leaving your children with little or no inheritance.
You can make provisions for a new spouse or partner as well as your children in your will, avoiding potentially unnecessary conflicts after your death.
If you’re young, no kids, no marriage and life is pretty uncomplicated and you’ve not got many assets yet then sure, you can probably put this sort of thing off for now but this article is really for the parents and stepparents who simply must must make sure the kids are taken care of properly and don’t end up with social services for months on end whilst your family grapple with the courts to quickly create a solution that you should have sorted out yourself. They will have a hard enough time as it is if they lost you, so don’t make it worse by abandoning them to the state.