Peter & Maxine had both been married before. Maxine had a son, Timothy, who was 11 and lived with them. They also had a daughter, Amanda, who was 7.
They never bothered to make a Will believing that, if either of them died, the other would automatically inherit everything.
They were wrong. When Peter was tragically killed in a car accident Maxine discovered just how wrong.
Peter had savings, a pension scheme, life insurance and accident insurance so Maxine should have been left comfortable off.
But because Peter didn’t make a Will the law intervened. After several months the solicitors sorted out Peter’s assets and advised Maxine she would receive only around half of his estate. Imagine her shock.
Their home was owned jointly so passed automatically to Maxine.
First she had to pay £10,000 to Peter’s ex-wife who made a claim against his estate. The rest would have to be put in Trust for Amanda until she was 18 and would inherit the whole amount. Although Peter treated Timothy as his own, because he was not his biological son, Timothy was entitled to nothing.
Maxine was left with a legal bill of almost £9,000 and there was a £37,000 IHT bill.
No-one could run Peter’s company so it folded and his 4 employees lost their livelihood.
Maxine told me how hard Peter worked and how they planned to sell the business and retire early. He would have been heartbroken to know the mess he’d left behind.
I had to explain to Maxine that without a Will appointing guardians, the courts would decide who would raise Amanda & Timothy. It could take weeks, or even months. They could even be placed in care while the courts were deciding. Worse still, Timothy may have been forced to stay with his dad who Maxine had left because of his excessive drinking.
It’s too late for Peter but Maxine has a Will now and can sleep a little better knowing who would take care of Amanda & Timothy if anything happened to her.