Controversy on the Cobbles!

24th May 2018

The TV remote is like gold dust in my household. Having intermittently given up control of the remote, events on the cobbles in Coronation Street drew my interest, particularly in light of this week’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. 

Congratulations to the producers at Coronation Street who I felt did the storyline justice. It has once again brought the effects of mental health disorders firmly in to the spotlight, as well as highlighting wider issues surrounding a person’s death. 

Aidan Connor was part of a minority in the UK. Yes, he was one of only 40% of people in the UK to have made a will. 

The content of Aidan’s will is soon to be hot topic of conversation on the cobbles, the surprise being that Aidan has gifted his shares in his business to Alya as opposed to Carla. 

In the UK, every single one of us has complete testamentary freedom to decide who we want to leave our estate to on death. There are no fixed succession laws in the UK, as there are in some European and other foreign countries. 

When a person makes a will, it is important that they are able to understand:

  1. the nature of the will and its effect
  2. the extent of the property they are disposing under the will
  3. the person(s) for whom the will maker would usually be expected to provide (even if he chooses not to) and be free from any delusion of the mind that would cause him reason not to benefit those people.

Carla could arguably have fallen into the third limb of this test, as a result, what recourse may be available to Carla? It may be possible for Carla to bring a claim against Aidan’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on the basis that she has not received “reasonable provision” under Aidan’s will. There may also be an estoppel claim or a claim that Aidan’s will is invalid and should therefore not be followed. 

A will is a document that carries a great deal of emotion, both on the part of the person making the will and on the part of the ultimate beneficiaries. To make sure that your wishes and being met and that you have received appropriate advice in connection with the content of your will, to include how to mitigate the chances of a successful claim being made against your estate following death, you are advised to contact a solicitor to draft your will.   

It is also worth highlighting that whilst you are alive and until probate has been obtained in your estate, your will remains a private document. The only person(s) following your death, until probate has been granted, entitled to see the content of your will are your executors.  

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