HALLOWEEN HORROR STORIES - WILLS: a woman dies young with disastrous consequences

HALLOWEEN HORROR STORIES - WILLS:  a woman dies young with disastrous consequences

Situation:  Mr John and Mrs Pat Smith have been married for 25 years, but the relationship was never a good match and, acrimoniously, they go through a very long, bitter and messy divorce. They have a child, Jemima, who is 18.

Mrs Pat Smith happily gets remarried to Mr Colin Brown whom she had known closely for over ten years (becoming Mrs Colin Brown), but within 12 months of the second marriage, her previous husband, John Smith, dies of liver cancer making no will.

Their daughter Jemima Smith inherits over £200,000 from her late father’s estate, but unbelievably Jemima doesn’t think to make a will for herself at this stage as she feels she’s too young and in good health.

Jemima invests the money by buying an apartment for herself and then goes on to university in Exeter where she studies geography. A week later, Jemima is knocked down by a high-speed car and dies suddenly from her injuries, without having made a will.

The impact of Jemima not having made a will for herself, even though she was young of age, meant that all her assets (including all of her father’s assets and legacy) then passed to her mother under the laws of intestacy. Her deceased father, John Smith, would be furious to think his ex-wife had received any more of his money.

Whilst this might not seem unreasonable legally, the nail in the coffin is that should her mother also die (without making a will and stipulating her intentions to be different)…. the man who shadowed the demise of Jemima’s parent’s marriage, Colin Brown, could eventually inherit everything.

Phoebe Tranter

Phoebe Skarlatos, Solicitor, Probate & Wills Team
Lawson West Solicitor, Leicester


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