I have one natural child and one adopted child. If I die, will my estate automatically be shared equally between the two of them?

If you die without having made a Will, the laws of intestacy will apply. This means that there is a statutory order of who will inherit and how much. It isn’t clear from your question as to whether you are married and if you are this would have an effect on the amount (if any) that your children automatically inherit on your death.

If you have a husband/wife/civil partner, they would take a set amount outright and the balance would be split into two. The spouse would receive the income from half of the balance whilst they are alive but the capital would be payable to your two children upon the death of your spouse. The other half will go to your two children at the age of 18. Joint and nominated assets are however treated differently.

If you have no spouse, your two children will inherit equally. Adopted children inherit from their adopted parents rather than their birth parents and so your two children would be treated equally under the intestacy provisions. This means that if your child’s birth parents also die without having made a Will, your child will not inherit from both estates only yours.

It is, however, important that you consider making a Will as there maybe certain personal possessions that you would want to make sure each child gets. Furthermore, if your children are still under the age of eighteen you may wish to appoint trustees who will manage the money for them until they are old enough to manage it directly themselves. Under the intestacy provisions, children inherit their money at the age of eighteen years but you may consider this too young and want to defer to a later age. It would, however, be advisable to take professional advice as there can be tax implications of doing this. Also, it is important to consider who would look after your children on a day to day basis and this can be included in a Will.

CAPTION: Donna Bothamley, Head of the Wills and Probate Team

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