Don't be like Bob – make your Will sooner rather than later

Posted by Stephen Evans on
Facebook users may be familiar with a series of amusing posts involving a picture of a little stick man and a caption which attributes certain behaviour to him before exhorting us to "be like Bill" or "don't be like Bob".

It was revealed a few weeks ago that comedian Bob Mortimer had rushed to make a Will only a few days before a triple heart bypass operation. He wanted to make sure his partner would be looked after in the event that he died on the operating table. As it happens, he then married his partner less than hour before the operation. But had he not done so, the fulfilment of his last wishes would have depended on making a Will.

On hearing this, my first thought was, of course, 'don't be like Bob'. We shouldn't wait until our life is in danger before taking steps to look after those we will leave behind.

There are often a number of complex issues to consider when making a Will, such as being able to think things through and obtain advice before signing on the dotted line. Leaving the task until we are seriously ill and in a lot of pain may mean we make hasty or unwise decisions which we might not have made with more time to reflect.

The consequences may be worse than that. Leaving a Will until the last minute carries the obvious risk that we won't actually make it in time. An illness may rob us of the mental capacity to make a Will or we may pass away before getting the job done.

Thankfully, Bob managed to make his Will in time and, happily, he has recovered from his life-saving operation and is enjoying married life.

But what happens if we don't make a Will and the worst happens? Instead of our own wishes being carried out, our estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy. These rules are based on the value of our assets and which relatives we leave behind.

Blake Morgan often deal with estates where the identity of the beneficiaries is not known because the person who has died did not have any close relations and was not in touch with their more distant relatives. Our friends at Finders (www.findersinternational.co.uk), international probate genealogists, are experts at seeking out those umpteen-times-removed cousins who are to benefit from an unexpected windfall. Our work as administrators of intestate estates would be so much more time-consuming and difficult without Finders' expertise. It is not unusual to see a colleague rolling out one of Finders' intricate family trees on the floor because it would not fit on their desk. I am sure at the back of their mind is the thought, "if only they had made a Will".

Don't risk the uncertainty which dying without a Will can bring. And don't be like Bob and risk leaving it too late to make one. Blake Morgan would be delighted to guide you as you decide how to provide for those you will be leaving behind if the worst should happen.

About the Author

Photograph of Stephen Evans

Stephen is a Solicitor in our Succession & Tax team.

Stephen Evans
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