Don’t leave a “Purple Haze” around your will

We might have more in common with the rockstar electric guitar legend Jimi Hendrix than we might think. I am not talking about growing an impressive head of hair or going for a reverberating solo – unless you’re lucky enough to have both of those abilities – rather Jimi Hendrix was one of millions who died without a will.

Castles (and all assets) Made of Sand

If you don’t leave behind any legacy – whether it’s as great as Hendrix’s or not – it can risk a huge amount of stress for those left behind and things can collapse as quickly as a sandcastle.

Around 60% of UK residents don’t have a will. Mainly because they “never seem to get round to it”, or, more worryingly, they are living under common myths like “my partner will inherit everything anyway” (but they don’t if you’re not married, or “dependents will be well looked after” (have you considered any step-children or grandchildren?).

Bold(er) than love

We know our intentions are good and nobody wants to exclude family members deliberately – but love simply isn’t enough without the right paperwork.

If you die without a will – also called dying “intestate” – the rules of intestacy dictate how your estate is divided. Usually this is to a surviving spouse, children or grandchildren. Remarriages invalidate any wills and stepchildren could find that they miss out. If you are unmarried, the surviving partner will be entitled to nothing – even if you’ve been together 20 years and have 4 children.

Avoid a “Red House”

Inheritance disputes have increased dramatically over recent years. According to a recent article in the FT, around 390 disputes relating to probate went through the High Court from January to September 2023. That is more than double from the same period in 2016.

Some say this is partly due to the fact we are all living longer, so are more likely to have more marriages and more children. But it also means people are living longer with conditions that cause a lack in mental capacity, leaving them unable to think clearly or make decisions. Again, to avoid family mishaps while you are still alive, it is vital that you draft a Lasting Power of Attorney. Financial disagreements are far more likely to appear during this period, so make sure you are nipping them in the bud while you are still healthy enough to do so.

One Rainy Wish is fine – just make sure you document it!

Whatever you might want for your family, make sure it is written down.

A few things you might want to include:

  • Gifts – such as heirlooms or treasured jewellery
  • Monetary gifts – fixed sums (pecuniary) or a percentage of an estate (residuary)
  • Pensions – these fall outside your estate so are an extremely tax efficient way of passing on money. Make sure the beneficiary of your pensions is named both in your will and with your pension provider though, as the trustees will decide who gets the amount.

Once you have completed your will, keep it in a safe place, along with details of your assets and where they can be found to make things as easy as possible for your executors – make sure your legend, unlike Jimi Hendrix, is that all your paperwork is present and correct.

If you would like any help drafting your will or Lasting Power of Attorney, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.


Jenna Hopkins

Jenna Hopkins


Tel: +44 (0) 1483 411525

Office: Godalming Office