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Intestacy rules

A Cautionary Tale – Intestacy lessons from the rich and famous

| Published on March 1, 2022

While celebrities often have professional advisors who look after their business affairs, they sometimes do not get around to making a will and setting out their wishes.

‘When you die without a will, predetermined laws of intestacy decide who will inherit your estate and in what shares. These laws seek to deal with matters in a fair way, but cannot take into account modern family structures, family dynamics or personal wishes,’ says Stuart Bradford a Partner at Humphries Kirk’s Parkstone Office.

It is only by seeking advice on the preparation of a will that your own situation can be fully considered.

Stuart highlights some of the lessons that can be learned from Pablo Picasso, Prince, Amy Winehouse, Rik Mayall and Stieg Larsson, and why you should not put off making your will.

Stieg Larsson’s lesson for unmarried couples

Author Stieg Larsson, author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series died intestate. His vast wealth passed to his father under intestacy, leaving his long-term partner with nothing.

Rik Mayall’s lesson in tax planning

When actor Rik Mayall died intestate, his wealth was subject to a substantial inheritance tax liability that might have been reduced if he had planned ahead.

Pablo Picasso’s lesson to save delay and costs

Whilst an average estate takes around one year to administer, as Picasso died without a will his estate reportedly took six years to settle and cost approximately $30 million.

Prince’s lesson for philanthropists

After Prince died, intestacy rules meant that all his assets passed to his siblings, leaving his five half-siblings without a share of his estate. He gave generously to charity throughout his lifetime, but gifts such as these can never be achieved without a will.

Amy Winehouse’s lesson for entrepreneurs

Amy Winehouse’s intestacy resulted in her £4 million estate being almost entirely depleted within two years of her death after her companies passed into the control of her parents. It is important that you understand how that business will be dealt with on your death.

How we can help

A will ensures that you are in control of how your estate passes, that you have planned in the most tax-efficient way, and that your loved ones will not be left arguing after you have gone.

We can advise you on preparing a will in a way that ensures your choices are clear and legally binding. We can advise you how best to pre-empt or manage potential conflicts and how your estate might be affected by various taxes.
For straightforward advice on complex matters call one of our offices – we have specialists ready to help you.

Humphries Kirk have offices across Dorset in Bournemouth, Poole, Parkstone, Cranborne Chase, Crewkerne, Swanage and Wareham.

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