Author: Helena Luckhurst
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The death of L’Wren Scott aged 49 in March 2014 made headline news but the contents of her will (leaving everything to Sir Mick and specifically nothing to her adoptive family) were equally well publicised.
Gone are the days when wills are read out by the family solicitor in front of a gathered assembly of family members – that only happens in the movies! However, here in England, a will often becomes a public document, available for all to see, if it is necessary to obtain a grant of probate. That’s the legal document that unlocks the key to a deceased’s person’s assets when they are held by financial institutions such as banks and investment houses, or a property. Usually there is at least one asset that requires a grant of probate.
If you don’t want the press or your family to know to whom you are leaving your assets or in what proportions, what can you do? With a bit of planning, a lot is possible:
Even if you don’t want the world to know your business, it’s worth noting that, under English law, if L’Wren hadn’t made a will in Sir Mick’s favour, he would not have inherited any of her estate. If you are not married to your partner and want them to inherit something from you after your death, you must make a will in order to make it happen. However, do it right and you need not waive your privacy by doing so.
Helena Luckhurst, Partner, Fladgate LLP (firstname.lastname@example.org)