Nicola Steadman writes
“Emmerdale has had me hooked recently but with my solicitor head on, the White family situation is proving interesting.
Take the crash that killed Lawrence and Chrissie for example.
Lawrence was quite clearly dead when Chrissie was still alive. So what would this mean in respect of Wills? Well, if Lawrence had a clause in his will which said his daughter Chrissie had to survive him by 28 days, then she would not have inherited any money from his Will. If she just had to survive him (whether by 5 minutes or 5 years) then she would receive her entitlement under his Will.
Given that she did survive him by only a few minutes, as she was talking to Lachlan in the immediate aftermath of the crash, then we saw that she does inherit from her father and then Lachlan inherits the whole of her estate under her Will. This shows how important it is to have a Will in place, which caters for various circumstances and events. If he did have the 28 day clause in his Will then his estate might have gone straight to Lachlan and therefore not have been as complicated.
But, for example, what if it wasn’t clear who survived who? In that case, it is always the younger who is deemed to survive the eldest, so if Lawrence and Chrissie were both found dead, Lawrence would be deemed to have died first purely by his age. If the 28 day clause had been in, then she still would not have survived the requisite period and the funds would have again gone direct to Lachlan. There could have been an awful of lot administrative work and indeed cost saved, depending on the wording of the Will.
Another issue that was raised following the crash was Rebecca’s son Seb. What would happen to her estate if she had not come out of the coma? If she didn’t have a Will, then two people would have to be appointed to look after her estate until Seb was 18. Now an obvious choice for this would have been Robert (Seb’s Dad) and Lachlan (Seb’s Uncle) but Rebecca hates Robert. So, she should have a Will appointing someone she trusts to look after funds for Seb until he is 18.
Also, who would have acted as Guardian? Again, Robert seemed the obvious choice being Seb’s Dad and there could have been arguments here if Rebecca didn’t have a Will.
Now we don’t know whether Rebecca had a Will, and luckily she survived the crash, but what would have happened if not.? Not what she would have wanted, that’s for sure.
By looking at situations like the White family in Emmerdale, it hopefully encourages people to think about what would happen in their own situation if the worst was to happen.”
If I can help with drafting a Will for you, then please give me a call on 01539 721945.Nicola
Published 9 February 2018
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