Millions of TV viewers have been gripped by the tragic storyline in Coronation Street involving popular character Aidan Connor, who took his own life after suffering mental health problems.
His family were still reeling from his death when they received the news that in his will he had left his factory to one of his employees, rather than to his relatives.
It’s unclear whether he meant to do that because at the time he made his will, he only owned 18% of the shares in the factory, but by the time he died, he owned it all after his sister Carla had given him her share.
Did he mean to leave all the shares in the factory to the employee? Or just the 18%?
The confusion leaves the family with the dilemma of whether to challenge the will.
The on-screen drama highlights an issue that can sometimes happen in real life, although in a less dramatic way perhaps. People often forget to update their will when their circumstances change. This can lead to major problems.
The most obvious example is getting married. When you marry, your existing will is automatically revoked and is no longer valid. You need to make a new will to ensure your estate is passed on according to your wishes.
You should also check your will if you divorce to make sure you are not leaving assets to your former spouse or their family, unless of course, there are reasons why you want to do that. If you start a new long-term relationship, you may wish to ensure you provide properly for your new partner, especially if you start living together.
Many people assume that cohabitants have the same legal rights as married couples. This is not the case and can lead to bereaved partners suffering financial hardship, and even losing their home.
There are numerous other events that could lead you to update your will, such as having children, inheriting money or property, or building up a business.
In all these cases, updating your will can ensure your loved ones don’t face hardship, or have to take legal action once you’ve gone to receive what they consider as their rightful inheritance.
Please contact us about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.