Some of you won’t know who Prince is no doubt, and he was American, but the story would most be the same in the UK. Simple estate planning precautions like making a Last Will (and keeping it up to date!) We do appreciate that not every English or Welsh lawyer would have the expertise to deal with an estate of that size – many millions of dollars.
However, it is just plain irresponsible not to make any attempt to deal with an estate which will need urgent management from day one. A showbiz empire doesn’t stop just because (for example) Elvis has left the room! It may not matter if your husband or wife is left without access to your cash for a few months – they probably need a diet anyway – but businesses can crash within days if the right precautions are not in place. I do appreciate that is not the main thrust of this blog, but we do cover Business Succession Planning as well as simpler matters (and of course, Inheritance Tax Planning!)
So Prince was guilty of the “crime” of Intestacy –
not having a valid Last Will and Testament and leaving what happened to his assets to the Law. In the UK, the Rules of Intestacy decide what will happen, and anyone who should have been looked after but isn’t has only one option. A very expensive one – they have to go to Court to make a claim against the assets of the deceased. This is far from straightforward (though our firm can help) but most people just don’t have the financial clout to even start on the process. It may costs tens of thousands of pounds, or more. And the judge may decide that you were not justified in claiming and you could end up paying the legal and Court fees of BOTH sides, which could be in the hundreds of thousands.
So if you take nothing else from this, contact us to talk about getting your Estate Planning up to speed, even if you don’t have an Inheritance Tax problem. Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney are part of the process, but keeping them under review as Tax, the Law and your families circumstances change. See the Peace of Mind Service we can offer.