Where there’s a will there’s a relative.(Or sometimes a relative even when there isn’t a will)

Oxo Mum’s bitter will dispute

MUCH loved actress Lynda Bellingham died from cancer at the age of 66 in October, 2014. But while the nation was united in grief, a bitter dispute erupted about her will. Lynda left everything to her third husband Michael. However, there appears to be no love lost between her widower and two sons from her second marriage, Michael and Robbie. Both are mounting a legal challenge after claims that they were given just £750 each and evicted from the family home by text message. They say that their mum told them that she would leave all of her money to Pattemore but that the boys would be “looked after”. A frustrated Pattemore, who has since bought a £600,000 house and enjoyed a round-the- world trip, told the national press the will was “still going through probate”.

Pop Icon Prince did not make a will

Pop superstar Prince passed away in April without making a will. As in England, an administrator has to be appointed to deal with the estate if the person died intestate. The size of the eccentric musician’s fortune is unclear but it’s sure to be a princely sum. As the 57year old singer died without a spouse, children or surviving parents, his six siblings are entitled to an equal split. Potential claims by five half-siblings raise the possibility of a drawn-out family battle.

No Laughing Matter

Comedian Rik Mayall failed to leave a valid will to deal with his £1.2m estate which could leave his family with a large inheritance tax bill. This could have been avoided if he had left everything tax free to his wife. Probate records reveal he had no will, even though he suffered serious head injuries and nearly died in a quad bike accident in 1998.Under intestacy rules for a married father like Mayall (who died before last October) his wife would have inherited his possessions known as his personal chattels and £250,000.Assets above that limit are split 50/50 between the spouse and the children. But for the share of the assets above the £250,000 limit, the spouse only gets a “life interest” in the assets.

After October 2014: The situation is the same, except the “life interest” distinction falls away. So now the spouse is free to spend without restriction, his or her share of the 50/50 split of assets above the £250,000 level

Here are a few more examples of why a will works well:

When Jimi Hendrix died without a will in 1970, his father Al inherited everything. When Al died in 2002, he left Jimi’s £51m estate to his adopted daughter, prompting a lawsuit by his biological son.

TV presenter Jill Dando’s £1.18m estate was handed over to her elderly father after she was murdered in April 1999. About £250,000 was due in inheritance tax.

Under intestacy rules, had Dando already married her fiancé, doctor Alan Farthing, which she had planned to do later that year, the tax due on her estate would have been just £40,000. Had she made a will, this figure could have been reduced to £0.

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