The Dowager Countess of Lucan has left her entire fortune to a homeless charity. The wife of Lord Lucan, who vanished more than 40 years ago, was found dead at her Westminster home last year. Aged 80, she took her own life after incorrectly diagnosing herself with Parkinson’s disease.
The Countess left her entire estate to homeless charity Shelter, cutting her three children from her Will.
Custody of her children was transferred to her sister and brother-in-law, after Lady Lucan reportedly became mentally ill. She spent her final years as a recluse and had not spoken to her children since the 1980s.
In a probate document she stated that:
“In view of the lack of good manners and reverence shown to me as their parent, I do not wish any of my three children to benefit from my death any more than they have to.”
Probate is the legal process for dealing with the estate of someone who has died. Whether or not Probate is required depends upon the value and complexity of the assets involved.
According to reports, her children do not intend to dispute the Will. Her son George, has said that he applauds the decision.
Shelter has highlighted the generosity of the charitable donation and has said that it will use the proceeds to “continue fighting bad housing and homelessness.”
Legacies account for a large and growing amount of charitable donations. In many cases, this is because of Inheritance Tax (IHT) breaks introduced under former chancellor George Osborne in 2012.
However, there has also been a rise in disputes between family members over inheritance, and recent cases have shown that a Will can be overruled if it is thought to be unreasonable or purely spiteful. As such, careful drafting and consideration are essential.
To make sure your Will is passed on in line with your wishes speak to one of our expert team.