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"Stuck in the Middle with You": When Did You Last Review Your Will?

View profile for Paul Hajek
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Why you need to review your willGerry Rafferty the singer/song writer who died last month may be best remembered for his hit singles Baker Street and Stuck in the Middle with You

Unfortunately, those lyrics "Stuck in the Middle with You" may be taking on a new unintended significance.

Gerry Rafferty's executors, it is reported, may be stuck in the middle of a dispute over the provisions of his Will: or rather lack of a provision in his Will for his girlfriend..

Gerry Rafferty's Will was made before he met his girlfriend in 2008.

He left his estate to his daughter and granddaughter: there is no provision in his Will for his girlfriend.

The Need to Review Your Will:

The circumstances are unfortunate.

It does, however, drive home the need to review your Will on a regular basis.

Once you have written your Will, it should be reviewed in the following circumstances: -

  • upon marriage (marriage automatically revokes a Will unless it is stated to be in contemplation of that marriage)
  • upon retirement
  • the birth of a child
  • following a divorce
  • if you receive a large sum of cash which could effect your inheritance tax position
  • if a close family member dies
  • major inheritance tax legislation passed by Parliament

If you die without making a Will you are deemed to have died intestate. This means that your assets will be divided up according to statute under the Intestacy Rules rather than your wishes.

The Intestacy Rules:

Under the intestacy rules;

  • partners to whom you are not married or in a civil partnership, get absolutely nothing even if they were co-habiting with you at the time of your death  
  • if you are married or in a civil partnership, the amount going to your spouse or civil partner is restricted with the possibility that even estranged relatives could benefit
  • part of your estate could go to your parents. Whilst you may wish to provide for elderly parents, the consequences could be an additional charge to inheritance tax on the subsequent death of your parents.
  • if you die and have no relatives, then your WHOLE estate would go to the government rather than friends or charitable causes
  • it is possible to unwittingly die intestate. This will happen if you have made a Will but it is declared invalid. This often happens where people have purchased a “do it yourself” Will rather than taking professional advice
  • unless specifically stated otherwise, entering into a marriage or civil partnership will automatically revoke your Will. Divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership doesn’t revoke a Will but treats the former spouse or partner as though they had died at the date of dissolution.

Last Resort:

If you feel you have a legitimate claim against the estate of a deceased's estate your only legal redress would be under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

There are time limits and expensive Court proceedings involved.

Don't Get Stuck in the Middle:

So to Avoid litigation after your death and fear and worry for your loved ones, make sure you review your Will on a regular basis.

Make sure your loved ones don't get stuck in the middle of a dispute over your Will and have to endure a court battle after you have gone.

If you have not reviewed your Will for over 5 years we are offering a free Will review. Contact Jane Macdonald or Hilary McIlveen by phone 01454 312125 or email: info{at}cluttoncox.co.uk

 

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