Jill Dando story

Example of a unmarried couple without a Will.

DandoWhen television presenter Jill Dando was murdered outside her home, she left behind a fiancé, a mortgage, a brother and elderly father and no Will.

Her estate after liabilities (including a mortgage) was c.£850,000.

   As she died intestate, her father could have administered her estate but he passed on the responsibility to his son.

   Dando was murdered a few months before she and Alan Farthing, a doctor, were to be married. If they had been married, he would have inherited up to £200,000 and her personal possessions. The remainder of her estate would have been divided equally between her husband and her father.

   As she and Farthing had not wed and she had no will, he was entitled to nothing.

   Inheritance tax came to about £250,000, although some reports suggested that posthumous donations to charity would reduce the total tax due. If Dando had been married, tax would have amounted to less than £40,000.

   Barry George was found guilty of her murder and jailed. In August 2008 he was freed after a successful appeal and retrial. 

    While having a Will in place would not have lessened the grief felt by her family and fiancé, the added strain of having to pay inheritance tax knowing that a simple Will could have saved not only the tax but the emotional pressure of dealing with the situation. Fortunately her fiancé as a doctor was not reliant on her income but imagine the situation if the person who had died was the major income provider.

    Whilst getting married usually dissolves a Will we are able to add a pre-marriage clause to the Will this states that the Will is being drawn up in preparation of a marriage and is valid for the period before the marriage and after.

 Many people put of writing a Will thinking that they will write a Will once they are married rather that paying for one before and one after the marriage.

    It is also possible to put a time limit i.e. in expectation of the marriage in 6 months, a year or whatever term you required, this gives protection should the wedding not take place.

    If a unmarried couple had a child, it is likely that the child would inherited from the deceased parent meaning that the surviving parent may be living in a property owned by the child, whilst the child is under 18 the surviving parent could be a trustee, but imagine the situation when the child is 18 and the surviving parent wants to remarry and bring their partner into the child’s property.