Don’t do a Downton warns law firm

Don’t end up like Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary – that’s the message from a leading law firm which is stressing the importance of making a will.

Lady Mary Crawley’s husband Matthew – the handsome hero and heir to the family estate – died in a car crash at the end of the last series of the hit ITV series without having made a will.

The start of the new season aired on TV this week showing some of the difficulties facing his widow as she struggled to get her affairs in order.

Solicitors from Higgs & Sons say even though the programme is fictional it shows the need for everyone to have a will.

Ian Bond, a Partner in Higgs’ private client team, said although rules had changed since the 1922 setting of Downton, the central message remained the same.

“Mary received only a portion of what she might have otherwise expected to inherit because Matthew died without a will. And although rules have changed significantly since 1922, it is still a major problem when it happens today.

“Like poor Matthew, it is easy to keep putting off making a will, but it is impossible to tell what is around the corner and we can all save our relatives an awful amount of stress by making sure we have our affairs in order.”

Ian said the rules of inheritance meant having a will was essential to ensure an estate passed as you would wish.

“In many cases spouses and civil partners will not automatically inherit all of your estate without a will. And if you have children, it is a good idea to say who you would like to look after them if you die before they reach the age of 18.

“If you do not have a will, the intestacy rules will dictate how your estate is divided between your relatives, and who deals with your estate.”

Ian also warned that existing wills should be reviewed periodically to ensure they are up to date and reflect current wishes and circumstances.

Higgs & Sons works from two offices in the Black Country – Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs more than 200 people, which includes over 100 specialist lawyers.

For specialist advice on making or amending your will call Ian on 0845 111 5050 or email