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Contested Wills in the News: Linda Bellingham’s sons to contest her Will
11 April 2016

Paul Lowery speaks to Anne Diamond on BBC Radio Berkshire on 11 April 2016.

Paul Lowery, partner at Reading based solicitors Boyes Turner LLP, who specialises in Estate planning, Wills and Probate spoke to Anne Diamond of BBC Radio Berkshire about contested Wills in light of the news that the sons of the much loved television personality Linda Bellingham who died from cancer in 2014 will challenge her will. Her will which was reportedly executed at a time when she was very ill has apparently left everything to her third husband, but did not provide for her sons from her second marriage. This has led to a bitter dispute between her son’s and their stepfather.

In what was an informative discussion the main points highlighted by Paul were:

  • Being ill is always a difficult time and Paul advised that people should plan ahead if at all possible and look at putting Wills in place while they are well. Too many people wait until they are very unwell which can make the process more complicated and in some cases can lead to the possibility of a Will being challenged if there is a question over the person’s testamentary capacity (their legal and mental ability to make or alter a valid will.).
  • Second (or any subsequent) marriages can cause complications when drafting a will and it is important to take specialist advice to ensure that the Will provides for the client’s family in the way they wish. People often do not take into consideration the effect of remarrying on their will and how it may affect their children from a previous marriage.
  • Paul highlighted that one of the ways a Will can provide for a spouse of a subsequent marriage but also preserving the deceased’s estate for the children (often of previous marriages) is to incorporate a life interest trust into the Will. This allows the surviving spouse to be looked after during their lifetime while providing that the deceased’s estate is preserved for the deceased’s children, which they can then inherit after the death of the surviving spouse.
  • It is important that when drafting a Will, people ensure that they are doing the right thing by their families, take specialist advice and discuss things openly to avoid any unpleasant shocks for their family after they die.

You can listen to Anne’s interview with Paul on BBC iplayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p002m92c/episodes/player

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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