OXO Mum’s unsavoury will dispute

Much loved actress Lynda Bellingham died from cancer at the age of 66 in October 2014. But whilst the nation was united in grief, a bitter dispute erupted about her will. Lynda left everything to her third husband Michael Pattemore. However, there appears to be no love lost between her widower and two sons from her second marriage, Michael and Robbie. Both sons mounted 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  round-the- world trips with his new partner Pam, told the national press that his new will may not include Michael and Robbie as beneficiaries.


Pop Icon Prince did not make a will

Pop superstar Prince passed away in April 2016 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 57 year 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 delayed settlement for over a year after a drawn-out family battle.


No Laughing Matter

Comedian Rik Mayall didn’t leave a valid will to deal with his £1.2m estate which left  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 that he had no will, despite suffering serious head injuries in a quad bike accident in 1998.For a married father like Mayall (who died in June 2014) under intestacy rules, 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. For assets above the £250,000 limit, the spouse only gets a “life interest”.

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 £250,000.

Here are a few more examples: 


Rasta  Conundrum

Bob Marley was jamming until 1981 when he lost his fight with cancer. Rastafarians don’t agree with the need for wills, which has created an ongoing challenge for the family. Bob’s widow Rita and the nine children have had to cope with Jamaican intestacy law and  stand up for their rights. To this day, and with spiralling legal expenses……….they still are.


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 £1.2m 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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