The cost of dying without a Will

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A recent Court case has demanded a window cleaner, Peter, must pay back almost £250,000 to the beneficiaries of his late brother Mick’s estate after he followed his brother’s wishes to give the money away to the homeless.

This money had been given away following Mick’s dying wish, however he had not written a Will.  Without a valid Will, there are strict inheritance laws which must be followed, whether these follow your wishes or not.  These are called the ‘intestacy rules’.

Under these rules, the family of the deceased are entitled to inherit the estate.  In this particular case, the deceased had expressed on his death bed that he wanted his money to be given to the, “hard-working poor and homeless” and for his family to receive nothing.  As Peter felt this was morally correct, this is exactly what he did.

However, High Court Judge Timothy Bowles argued Peter knew the family had legal entitlements and had chosen not to comply with the law, and has now demanded this money to be paid back.

This case highlights the importance of ensuring all your wishes are identified in a Will and that the person dealing with the estate complies with the law.  If these rules are not followed, the result can be costly.

If you require any further assistance with regards to any probate matter then please contact a member of our probate team who will be happy to assist.

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