Statistics show that a shocking 70% of people in the UK do not have a Will! These are shocking figures. Life is full of uncertainty and you should be prepared for any situation. In the unfortunate event that you should die unexpectedly, a Will is a must-have document if you want any of your wishes to be legally followed.
Coleen from West London had a drunken, unemployed and extremely unpredictable and violent husband, Mark. During their time together, he gambled, was adulterous and refused couldn’t hold down a job. Coleen, was the breadwinner and owned everything they had.
As with many relationships of this sort, Colleen found it very hard to leave Mark. Eventually, unable to take any more violence, she ran away and moved in with her sister. Her plan was to divorce Mark and have nothing more to do with him. After three days living with her sister, Coleen, unexpectedly, failed to wake up one morning. Her sister put her death down to a broken heart.
Colleen would have wanted everything she owned to go to her sister, but she hadn’t made a Will. Despite the best efforts of family lawyers, Mark, being her husband got everything she owned.
Paolo, a successful builder from South London who was close to retirement, fell off the roof of a building and died instantly, leaving behind a wife and four grown up children. What the London family didn’t know was that Paolo had fathered two other children in Italy with a girlfriend. He had kept this a secret all these years.
His girlfriend and children in Italy heard about Paolo’s death. In the knowledge that he had property portfolios in both Italy and London, they rightly expected to inherit a significant portion of his estate. Paolo however hadn’t made a Will.
What ensued was an almighty 7-year long battle between lawyers in London and lawyers in Italy; the costs of which ate into most of the value of Paolo’s estate. Both families ended up with next to nothing. What would Paolo have wanted? No one really knows, but a Will would have made all the difference.
George died without making a Will. Being a high-earning city trader and an avid saver and investor, George had built up significant wealth in his pensions and stocks and shares accounts. Being single, healthy and young, George never considered making a Will.
The firm he worked for run a death in service scheme, which paid out four times the value of his salary. George had a pension plan which was worth hundreds of thousands, a house and stocks and shares. A court decided that his estate was to go to his closest relative, which was his father. George, who was an only child, couldn’t stand his father. He’d remarried weeks after George’s mother died and George had never been able to forgive him.
George would have wanted the money to go to his girlfriend, who he intended to spend the rest of his life with. Without a Will however, she had no chance of receiving a penny and his father laughed all the way to the bank.
Conclusion: What would you like to happen when you die? Young or old, wealthy or broke, making a Will is crucial but does not need to be difficult or expensive. You could write down your wishes on a piece of paper or download a Will form from the internet. All you need to do is sign it and get it witnessed and you’ll have a legally binding document. Do it now.