Feuding Families - Keep it up to Date

The recent article in the news about Robin Williams’ children in dispute with his widow, Susan, over his personal possessions (or chattels in legal speak) is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence.

Robin did make solid arrangements to provide for both his wife and his three children from previous marriages in the form of Trust Deeds. These are not the same as Will but do operate along the same lines so as to take your wishes into account. Susan, however, has taken the matter to Court for the Court’s interpretation and clarity of what constitutes Robin’s “clothing, jewellery, personal photos prior to his marriage to Susan and memorabilia and awards in the entertainment industry”.

Whilst most peoples’ personal possessions will be nothing like the value of Robin Williams it is still an important part of making a Will to give specific directions for any items which someone holds dear, to ensure that the person who they intend to benefit actually DO benefit.

This does not have to be within the main body of the Will but merely referenced to your wish to direct your Executors to dispose of items in accordance with a Memorandum of Wishes. This can be as formal or informal as you like so long as it is specific. It should, obviously, be revised on a regular basis in case your wishes change. This also applies to your Will.

It cannot be stressed enough that your Will should be reviewed when your circumstances change or at least every 5 years. A classic case of this not being undertaken falls to yet another Hollywood icon.

Paul Walker IV of Fast and Furious fame died tragically at the age of 40 in a car accident. In his commendation he wrote his first and only Will at the age of 28 years old before he became a well-known movie star. During the intervening 12 years, his net worth increased dramatically but he never revised his Will.

Far too many adults wait until “someday” before they prepare even a basic Will. Walker did not expect to die in a car accident. His death was 12 years after he signed his Will, during which time life had thrown too many changes for him to rely on the same old document.

Thank you to Beata Matuleviciute of SSB Law for writing the above blog. Find them on Twitter: @SSBLaw1. SSB Law website: www.simpsonsissonsandbrooke.co.uk

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