I was fascinated to read the Law Commission’s report on ‘legal oddities: fact or fiction’ – and particularly relieved to know that shooting a Welshman within the walls of Chester is a) probably an urban myth and b) thankfully superseded by murder and manslaughter laws. Good to know that in all the years when I used to go shopping in the Chester Rows I was in fact safe from longbows!
A more dangerous urban myth, however, is that there is such a thing as a ‘common law spouse’. Living together for a period of time does not mean that your chosen room-mate has extra rights. Indeed, in the eyes of the law, that person is no more connected to you than the postman.
The myth persists, however, and is one of the reasons why people do not make Wills. Unfortunately this means that loved ones may miss out on receiving an inheritance under a Will – like the recent case of Joy Williams who had lived with her partner, Norman Martin, for 18 years. Norman had never divorced his wife and had not updated his Will, so his estranged wife originally received his share of the house that Joy lived in. Joy took court action which was successful. Norman’s share of the house was awarded to her and a substantial costs order was made against Norman’s estranged wife. But if Norman had updated his Will, Joy might have been saved the expense and worry of claiming against his estate at a particularly difficult time.
Making a will is easy – it does not take long and protects loved ones. It is not worth leaving it to chance.
No matter your wishes, make sure you convey them – do continue the #BigConversation.
If you or a relative need advice regarding elderly care issues or making a Will then contact me or a member of our Elderly Care Team.