Learn intestacy lessons from the rich and famous or risk losing control of how your estate passes 

Making a will is the most effective way to determine who will benefit from your assets when you die, but an estimated 60% of UK adults do not have a valid will, leaving their estate to be divided under intestacy rules.  

Heather Dunlop, a Solicitor specialising in wills, probate and intestacy at Furley Page, said: “A will is essential to ensure wealth and assets pass to the deceased’s intended recipients, but too few people in the UK have provisions in place.  

“When you die without a will, predetermined laws of intestacy decide who should inherit your estate and in what shares. While these laws seek to deal with matters in a fair way, they do not account for modern family structures, family dynamics or the personal wishes of the deceased.  

“You would expect the rich and famous to have excellent financial advice, but like many ordinary people they sometimes do not get around to making a will and setting out their particular wishes.   

“The lessons that can be learned from celebrities as diverse as Pablo Picasso, Prince, Amy Winehouse, Rik Mayall and Stieg Larsson, show why you should not put off making your will.”  

  • Stieg Larsson’s lesson for unmarried couples: the author of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo died intestate, leaving his long-term partner with nothing when his fortune passed to his father 
  • Rik Mayall’s lesson in tax planning: when actor Rik Mayall died intestate, his wealth was subject to a substantial inheritance tax liability that might have been reduced if he had planned his affairs during his lifetime. 
  • Pablo Picasso’s lesson to save delay and costs: when Pablo Picasso died without a will his estate reportedly took six years to settle and cost approximately $30 million 
  • Prince’s lesson for philanthropist: despite giving generously to charity throughout his lifetime, when the musician Prince Rogers Nelson (“Prince”) died without a will he was also unable to make any bequeathments from his estate when he died. 
  • Amy Winehouse’s lesson for entrepreneurs: Amy Winehouse’s intestacy resulted in her £4 million estate being almost entirely depleted within two years of her death after her companies passed into the control of her parents.

Heather continued: “It is only by seeking advice on the preparation of a will that your own situation can be fully considered, as there are many ways in which intestacy provisions might not be suitable for your needs.” 

For further information about making a will, please contact Heather Dunlop on 01227 763939 or email hjd@furleypage.co.uk