The Pitfalls of Celebrity Procrastination

It is common knowledge that Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley were successful musicians that were taken from the world too young. Perhaps what you didn’t know, that all three had in common, was that all three celebrities (the oldest being Bob Marley at 36) passed away without making a Will.

Andy Boyde

Andy Boyde

Surely, given the amount of millions of pounds that these celebrities had made during their short lives you would think that creating a Will to ensure that their millions were left to only their nearest and dearest would be at the forefront of their minds? It appears not.

Relatives of the above celebrities have had to endure lengthy legal battles in relation to their loved ones estate. Amy Winehouse’s estate was valued at £2,944,554, or $4.66 million following the deduction of taxes and debts. This was ultimately be received by Amy’s parents Mitch and Janis. This may be what Amy would have wanted, but there is no way of ever knowing as she failed to make a Will. It was said that Amy was still in love and on good terms with her ex-husband, despite their divorce. Had she had a Will, she may still have left something to him. However, the rules of intestacy prevent Blake Fielder-Civil from receiving anything as Amy’s wishes were not written in a Will.

The estates of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley were also subject to the rules of intestacy as both iconic performers failed to make a Will. Despite their deaths being some time ago, their estates continue to generate money. Therefore, new cases regarding their estates can arise at anytime. Astonishingly, even though he was a lawyer himself – Abraham Lincoln died intestate. He failed to make a Will that distributed his considerably large estate, instead it was simply divided 3 ways between his wife and children.

These stories highlight the importance of having a Will. Dealing with the death of a close friend or relative is hard enough – without family feuds and arguments to contend with as well.  If a Will is not made a person is classed as dying intestate. Therefore, rules of law which consist of a hierarchy of family members detailing who gets what and how much comes into practice. This means that any of the deceased’s wishes cannot be considered. The thought of making a Will may seem costly and intimidating; in reality it is a simple process that can be done by a qualified probate solicitor. It prevents your loved ones agonising over distributing your property when you are gone. The only work required of you is to tell the solicitor your wishes and who gets what. It’s that easy.

Andy Boyde

Wills & Probate Department
0113 207 0000

 Contribution from Amanda Broughton

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