Yet another reason why a Will is even more important than ever …
As private client solicitors we are always telling our clients about the importance of making a Will and I increasingly find myself saying that having a Will is even more important than ever these days.
One of the reasons a Will is even more important today is that so many more people now live together and/or have children from previous relationships to consider. In the eyes of the law if you are divorced and then marry a new partner, your estate would pretty much pass to them if you don’t have a Will. This means that if you have children and want to leave your assets to them, then you really must make a will.
A recent case has reinforced all of this in very sad and rather unusual circumstances.
Mr and Mrs Scarle were found dead at home. They had died from hypothermia and unfortunately it was not possible to establish the order in which they had died. Mr and Mrs Scarle each had a daughter from a previous relationship and, due to the circumstances surrounding their deaths, each daughter had a vested interest in proving that their parent had died second. This is because of a very old law which states that when you cannot determine who died first in a situation like this, the younger of the two is deemed to have died last.
One of the step sisters absolutely refused to settle during the ongoing proceedings and eventually the Judge was forced to rely upon this ancient law. The judge ruled that Mrs Scarle, as the younger of the couple, had died second which meant her daughter inherited everything. Mr Scarle’s daughter not only lost out on the estate but was also left with both her own legal costs and her sister’s.
This case drives home how crucial it is to have all of your wishes and intentions set out legally in a Will, especially if you and your partner/spouse have children from previous relationships. If Mr and Mrs Scarle had made a Will leaving everything to each other and then equally between their respective daughters, this case would have never gone before the Court.
If you would like to talk to us about making sure you have a Will that will take the best care of your family please email email@example.com or call Eilidh on 0114 290 6206.