Comedian’s death without a will a lesson to the public says legal expert

A leading law firm have said the sudden death of a well-known actor and comedian demonstrates how important it is to have a valid will.

QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank, which has offices in Coalville and Hinckley, have said the family of Rik Mayall, could face paying out many thousands of pounds on inheritance tax, after it emerged he had died intestate, the legal term for those who pass away without making a will.

“The probate records, which revealed the lack of the will, have inevitably led to speculation about potential inheritance taxes, which may well be due on his near £1.2m estate,” said Frankie Harwood, a wills expert at QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank.

“It appears that the family may now have lost tens of thousands of pounds to the government and this could have so easily been avoided,” she said.

In a case such as Rik Mayall’s – a married parent dies without a will, a portion of their assets go straight to their children, which in turn triggers a potential tax liability. Ms Harwood said lawyers have always advised people that they should have a valid will to avoid tax pitfalls and many other complications.

“As a solicitors who specialise in wills, planning and inheritance tax this story is sadly something we see too much of,” she added.

“Everyone with assets really needs to ensure that they have a valid will and make provisions to ensure the people they want to benefit do so after their passing.”

Mayall, who was just 56, will have his personal estate divided according to Government intestacy rules. Whilst Mayall’s children would be automatically entitled to a share of his net estate of £1,192,701 after funeral and legal expenses, they could inherit an amount liable for inheritance tax depending on the value of Mayall’s personal belongings, which would go to his wife under intestacy rules.

As the law stands, Mayall’s children would then automatically 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 is a sad tale, but estate planning is vital for those of a certain wealth and should not be delayed as shouldn’t making a will,” Ms Harwood added.

“The peace of mind seeing a solicitor and ensuring one’s estate is in good hands is huge,” she said.

“We hope the sad tale of Rik Mayall will ensure that the public realise these circumstances can often be replicated in more ordinary lives. Our message is simply-call your solicitor!”

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