What is included in my estate?
Your estate is everything you own in your sole name at the time of your death after all your outstanding liabilities have been settled including probate costs, inheritance tax (if applicable) and funeral expenses.
Your estate doesn’t include money in a joint account or property or shares owned jointly. Not included are life insurance policies in joint names and those where you have already nominated who the beneﬁciary should be on your death.
From your employment, your death in service beneﬁt and pension are also not normally included as these are held in trust for whomever you may have already nominated. It is, however, sometimes recommended by such a trustee that you mention in your will who you would like to beneﬁt - although trustees are not legally bound by your expressed wishes in your Will.
Jointly owned assets are usually subject to the rule of survivorship which we’ll be covering shortly. In our experience, the lack of understanding of this legal rule has been the cause of many a contest against a will, and unfortunately the cause of many children losing out on their inheritance as they watch the children of a step parent or similar inherit what should rightfully have been theirs. There is a solution.