Will you be remembered, or Unforgotten?

Sometimes TV makes you stop and think

If you haven’t watched the final episode of Unforgotten yet, look away now.

I am a huge fan of the show, and Nicola Walker in particular for her portrayal of the embattled Cassie Stuart. Most viewers are still in shock about Cassie’s death, but as an estate planner I have something else on my mind.

One of the subplots to the Unforgotten series centred on Cassie’s widowed father Martin, played by Peter Egan. He was in the early stages of dementia and had recently changed his Will. The new Will left everything to the new woman in his life, i.e. not the mother of his children. We might wonder whether she had influenced his decision in some way. Cassie was understandably upset by his decision, and suspicious of the circumstances that had led him to make such a big change. It led to some tension, particularly as Cassie had been planning her upcoming retirement to help him out financially.

Martin understandably wanted to provide for his partner, but that doesn’t mean that he had to disregard his family altogether. With some simple trust planning in his Will and perhaps gifting, he could have ensured that his partner had somewhere to live and adequate funds; when she later died that property and money would pass to Martin’s children (or to their children if one of them has died before him – quite important). Trust planning in Wills is often much simpler than it appears.

Mental Capacity

It’s also quite possible that Martin’s Will could be contested when he dies, on the grounds that he didn’t have capacity to understand what he was doing. A trust in his Will might well have prevented a challenge.

It doesn’t end there though – Cassie died in the final episode, and she was on her second marriage. Whether her second husband or her son will inherit will depend on whether she had a Will, and whether she used trust planning.


Could this happen to you?

It’s not hard to see how whole families can lose out, and it’s not difficult to solve the problem. If you have found love second time around, perhaps it is time to face the difficult decisions and make a Will. Make sure you are remembered for the right reasons, not unforgotten.

Article by Stephen Wilkes, Adv Cert in Will Prep (Eng and Wales), MSWW, Aff STEP

Managing Director