Downton Abbey plot highlights the perils of not having a Will

Following the tragic death of Matthew Crawley at the end of the last series of Downton Abbey, the first two episodes focused on the resultant problems of a husband and young father not having a Will.

As the sole heir to the family estate, his Will was “something that he was going to get around to eventually”.  Only a note found in his personal papers setting out his wishes for the family estate in the event of his death, later confirmed to be a Will, saved the day.

Erica Pearce-Howard, Associate Legal Practitioner at Crane & Staples is pleased that such a popular programme as Downton Abbey clearly recognised the importance of writing a Will.

She hopes that the plot will send a message to millions of people that writing a will is one of the most important things a person can do to protect their loved ones from unnecessary costs, upset or, potentially, loss of their home.

She says:

“None of us like to think about our own death but Downton Abbey showed that having the right advice and making a Will can ensure that whatever you hold precious will pass to those of your choosing, not that of the law – whether it be your loved ones, friends or charities.

Without a Will, a person’s estate does not automatically pass to those you may think.  There is no such thing as “common law husband or wife”.  Partners do not benefit at all.  Spouses will only inherit personal possessions and the first £250,000, which, in Hertfordshire, may not even cover the value of your property.  Even more reason to speak to us.

Here at Crane & Staples we can advise and guide you every step of the way.  Whether it’s to pass on your treasured Fender Telecaster guitar or make sure your beloved pets are taken care of, we can ensure that your wishes are carried out when you are no longer here.  We can also advise on planning for long term care, whether inheritance tax would be payable and what steps can be taken to reduce or avoid such tax and of course, protection of your children by the appointment of a guardian.’

Much is said about the cost of qualified legal advice.  We do not hide our fees in the small print.  We are upfront and transparent with how much it will cost.  You will know right at the start what you will pay – there will be no nasty surprises.

We understand that no client’s wishes are the same.  We do not all fit into the same box.  Everyone’s circumstances are different and we are confident that we offer expert advice, guidance, clear choices and ultimately, peace of mind.  What more could you ask for from your local solicitors?