David Bowie wasn’t just a musical genius – he was also a canny chap, writing (back in April 2004) a 20-page will leaving instructions on how his estate should be divided and on his wish to have his ashes scattered on Bali after a Buddhist ceremony.
Like Bowie, Cilla Black ensured her family were provided for after her death, leaving a will dividing her £15m estate between her three sons and including a bequest to her housekeeper of £20,000.
This places them in stark contrast to celebrities who have died intestate – and gifted the press lurid headlines about warring relatives and family feuds. Bob Marley had an eight-month battle with cancer before his untimely death at the age of 36 in 1981 but his Rastafarian beliefs prevented him from writing a will. The feuds over his £30m estate started straight after his funeral…
Stieg Larrson, author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, also died without a will, meaning his long-term partner Eva Garbielsson – who he’d lived with for 32 years – received nothing while his father and brother, whom he had a complicated relationship with, were awarded everything. (After a bitter dispute the Larrson family did, eventually, grant Eva ownership of the couple’s apartment.)
Even if you don’t have a £100m fortune like Bowie or properties in London, Buckinghamshire, Barbados and Marbella like Cilla writing a will detailing how your estate will be divided after you’ve gone is important, not just for your own peace of mind but for your family’s too.
Once you’ve made that will, you must ensure it’s updated when your circumstances change. Heath Ledger’s was written before the birth of his daughter Matilda Rose and bequeathed everything to his parents and sisters. (His father Kim, however, promised that the family would give the whole estate to Matilda.)
Barry White left wives, girlfriends and children squabbling over his fortune after he died, aged 58, in 2003 – he hadn’t updated his will to include his long-term lover Katherine Denton. She gave birth to a daughter four weeks before White’s death and attempted to claim a share of the multi-millionaire’s estate for the baby – however White’s family requested a paternity test which proved the child wasn’t his!
So, while your estate might not be as large as a celebrity’s – or your life as complicated – writing a will is essential. Contact us today to discuss your requirements on freephone 0800 044 5733, or use the contact form below