In the past couple of weeks there has been more than a few column inches in the papers telling the tale of woe relating to the much loved comedian Rik Mayall.
The star of The Young Ones and Bottom failed to have a valid will in place when he died unexpectedly last summer, aged just 56.
The probate records, which showed the lack of the will, have led to speculation about potential inheritance taxes which may well be due on his near £1.2m estate.
It is now possible that the family may now have lost tens of thousands of pounds which the government will instead receive.
Sadly this could have easily been avoided. However, at Bowsers, it is something we see too much of.
In a case such as Rik Mayall’s – a married parent dies without a will, a portion of their assets go straight to their offspring, which triggers a potential tax liability.
Good responsible solicitors have always advised that people should have a valid will to avoid tax pitfalls.
All adults should ensure they have a will and make provisions so the people they want to benefit do so.
For Mayall, his personal estate will be divided according to government intestacy rules, which take into account marital status, children or surviving relatives.
Whilst Mayall’s children would be automatically entitled to a share of his net estate, they could inherit an amount liable for inheritance tax.
Rules for a married father means his wife would be due to receive £250,000 plus all his ‘chattels’, including his personal belongings.
As the law currently stands, Mayall’s children would then get half the remaining value of the estate, creating a potential tax bill if the amount is more than the inheritance tax limit of £325,000.
It’s all quite messy, but too many people fail to plan properly for their passing and this celebrity’s case is not unusual.
Inheritance tax planning is vital and should not be put off, as shouldn’t making a will.