Anyone familiar with BBC One’s Heir Hunters programme will know about the otherwise relatively unknown and niche industry of probate genealogy research. When someone passes away, they leave behind an estate; it’s necessary to distribute that estate to the rightful heirs, known as beneficiaries. As the programme highlights, it’s not always easy to identify who should benefit from the estate or, if the beneficiary is known, to locate their whereabouts.
Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, sadly passed away in August and did so without leaving a Will. This might come as a surprise to many given her superstar status and assets worth an estimated £62.3 million. Without a Will in place, local law is dictating how her estate is being divided, rather than this being her own choice. This is further complicated because one of her sons has special needs that require financial and medical support for the rest of his life. The process of administering her estate could take years to resolve because of this lack of clear division and potential claims to the inheritance, and will likely play out in public.
If not, what has stopped you creating one up to this point? Does the idea of creating a Will feel like too much hassle? Does the thought of talking about it just make you feel awkward and uncomfortable? Do you find it difficult to raise the subject with elderly relatives?