Protecting our assets; it’s something we don’t necessarily think about every day. That said, it’s something that we all need to consider, and it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.

A whole host of factors can result in your assets falling into the hands of those you may not expect; the taxman, local care authorities and estranged relatives could all end up with a sizeable chunk of your estate after you’re gone if you leave what you own unprotected.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most heavily reported Will disputes and the circumstances that led up to them. Read on to learn how you can avoid this happening to you.


James Brown

With an estate valued at approximately $50 million, Brown’s Will stated that the majority of the money should be donated to charities that help disadvantaged youths in South Carolina. However, this Will was disputed by his widow, Tomi Rae Hynie, as well as Brown’s children. Despite a settlement being reached in 2009, it was overturned in 2013; the outcome is still yet to be determined.

Could this happen to you?

Despite having a Will, Brown’s estate was still disputed by his relatives. This is because, while a basic Will states your wishes, it offers no protection for the assets themselves. Had Brown used a Trust to properly safeguard his assets, it is unlikely the case would have gone to court. This is because Trusts offer a great deal of protection to assets, and specific safeguards and conditions can be put in place, such as gifts to charities and holding money for children until they reach a certain age.

Gitarrlegenden Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

This guitar virtuoso was just 27 when he died in 1970. Unlike Brown, however, Hendrix passed away without making a Will. This meant there was no guidance as to how his estate should be divided. As a result, Jimi’s father, Al, had to sue for the rights to his son’s music; this finally happened in 1995, 25 years after Jimi’s death. Al then set up multiple trusts in various names.

The case became even more complex when Al passed away in 2000; his adoptive daughter, Janie, received almost the entirety of the estate, by then valued at $80 million. Jimi himself, however, never specified that he wanted Janie- or, indeed, his father- to be allowed anywhere near his estate after his death.

Could this happen to you?

Without a Will, the laws of intestacy will usually apply; however, relatives, friends and others can make claims to an estate if the person died without making a Will. It is vital that you make a Will to give the law some guidance as to who should inherit what, and whether or not anybody should be excluded outright. Hendrix’s case is proof that we simply never know what is around the corner; making preparations early can save your loved ones time, money and disappointment later on.

Rik Mayall’s family to hold private funeral


Rik Mayall

One of Britain’s best loved comedians, Mayall’s death in 2014 came as a shock to many. Even more shockingly, Mayall failed to make a Will before his death; this means he died intestate with an estate valued at approximately £1.2 million.

According to the laws of intestacy, when a married parent dies without a Will, a portion of their estate goes to their children straight away if the estate is of a certain value. This means that Inheritance Tax could be charged on the money inherited by Mayall’s children, diminishing the amount they received.

Could this happen to you?

Without making a Will, just about anything is possible when it comes to challenging your estate and charging Inheritance Tax on it. Even a Basic Mirror Will, in which everything is left outright to the spouse, could have prevented Mayall’s estate being charged Inheritance Tax, as no money would be passed to his children.

Making your Will early is, simply put, the best way to prevent losses to your estate and excessive charges to your loved ones. Putting off making your Will can result in the courts getting involved with your estate planning, before and after your death, which can cost your estate thousands of pounds.

If you’ve still not made your Will, don’t worry; Accord Legal Services are here to help. Give us a call today on 01744 807048 for more information, or to book a free home consultation with one of our friendly, fully qualified estate planning consultants.