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Why you should include a

01 September

Why you should include a 'Common tragedy clause' in your Will

Most people make a Will to ensure that their closest loved ones inherit. However, what if the very worst happens and you and your loved ones are all tragically killed in the same accident?

One of the most important aspects of a solicitors job when writing a Will is to help clients consider different possibilities when it comes to their death. This includes what happens in the most tragic of circumstances and clients may want to consider including a 'common tragedy clause' in the Will. A properly drafted Will should work so that the right people, relations or chosen charity inherit whatever happens. Some of these “what ifs” are difficult to talk about but they do need to be considered:

“What if your partner dies before you?”

“What if your children die before you?” and

“What if your whole family were to die in a tragic accident with you?”

These are difficult and sometimes upsetting questions, but they are essential. If these circumstances are not covered a Will may fail and a lot of time, effort, and money may be wasted trying to find a distant relative who, under the “Rules of Intestacy” would now inherit.

Understandably, people really don’t want to consider the most tragic of circumstances when it comes to their death, but good Wills and Probate solicitors take the time to gently lead clients to talk about these issues. For many people if their loved ones have already been accounted for then a gift to Charity is often preferred to some unknown and distant relative.

We heard this week that when multi-millionaire Richard Cousins was killed in a terrible accident along with his fiancé, her daughter and both his sons, he left a substantial amount (believed to be about £41million) to the charity Oxfam. He had the foresight, and presumably the guidance from expert lawyers, to write his Will taking account of circumstances where all his family were to die at the same time.

Even if you don't have a multi-million pound estate, such extreme events should always be considered. Our Wills and Probate solicitors always help clients to consider every eventuality and consider all the outcomes so that their Will is effective, whatever the circumstances.

If you need to make or change your Will, please contact Charles Neal who is happy to discuss your requirements and advise you.