What links comedian Rik Mayall, actor Roger Lloyd-Pack (‘Trigger’ in TV’s Only Fools and Horses) and artist Pablo Picasso?

They all died without leaving a will.

Rik Mayall left £1.2m, and Roger Lloyd- Pack left £1.4m. Neither wrote a will, meaning that instead of passing to their wives tax free, their estates had to be administered under the rules of intestacy, leaving each family facing a bill for Inheritance Tax that could easily have been avoided with a valid will in place.

It cost over $30 M to settle Picasso’s estate, with his assets eventually divided up amongst six heirs. According to the Law Society, roughly one in three people die without a legal will in place, leaving their estates to be dealt with under the rules of intestacy.

Dying without writing a will is something all adults, especially those with children, should avoid.


Under the rules on intestacy, the estate of anyone who dies without writing a will who is in a marriage or civil partnership where there are no children passes entirely to the surviving spouse or civil partner, with other relatives receiving nothing.

If the spouse or civil partner dies without a will and there are children of that relationship, a surviving spouse or civil partner receives £250,000 and half of the balance absolutely, with the remainder passing to the deceased’s children. If a son or daughter has already died, their children will inherit in their place.


Writing a will gives you the opportunity to leave all your money to your spouse or civil partner free of tax, give money to your wider family and friends, and benefit charities.

If you want children to inherit only when they reach a certain age, you can stipulate this in your Will. Taking advice and writing a Will can help you ensure that the amount of Inheritance Tax payable on your estate is kept to a minimum.


If you have written a will, you should remember to review it as your life changes. Hollywood actor Heath Ledger didn’t update his will, so on his death there was no provision for his girlfriend or daughter.

For more information or advice on writing a will, please contact us. We are financial advisors based in Eastbourne, East Sussex, offering advice on a wide range of financial matters. Including mortgage advice, estate planning advice, pension advice and more.

Will writing and estate planning services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.