Myths about Wills that films and TV have made popular.

We should all make a will. It’s not always something that we want to think about but that isn’t an excuse. If you don’t leave a Will so that people know where your money and assets (car, house, jewellery, that terrible pottery you think is worth something) should go and to whom. If you don’t then the Government step in and decide it for you. Is that something you want to leave to the current administration? If you need a Cheltenham wills and probate professional then why  not take a look at companies like Films have created some myths around the subject of Wills all of them for the sake of the story and not the truth. Let’s take a look at some of them.

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  • Unwritten wills, spoken declarations. It’s very, very rare for these to be accepted. In many films and TV shows you’ll see a character record their will into a tape recorder or a phone. Generally the only people who can do this are Service people and even then when they are in active combat situations. It is much better to write one.
  • Inheritances can be stolen. This is a popular one and was made concrete with two famous examples. The first is Alexis Colby (Joan Collins) in Dynasty marrying Cecil Colby on his deathbed so that he can leave her his company and fortune and the second is Lex Luthor in Superman Returns where he actually helps guide the hand of the old lady he’s scamming to sign as she dies. In both cases the Courts and legal system would issue a pretty big “hang on a minute” on those two situations as they would question where the witnesses were and whether the illness they had contributed to inhibiting their decision making or if they were influenced which in both cases they plainly were.

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  • Wills with weird conditions. You’ll have seen some films where a person has to marry or graduate from University before they can inherit something and these are perfectly legal conditions. What’s not is the kind you see in Brewster’s Millions or Scavenger Hunt where the characters might have to break the law or leave someone at the altar before the money becomes your own.
  • Reading of the Will. It makes for a great scene as the assembled relatives all gather to hear the Will of Great Uncle De Courcey read out as to who gets what from his estate. It’s a great plot device that allows for character development and narrative as you see the cracks in the family develop for the drama to come. In reality the will is read by a Solicitor. Public readings were more common in the past when levels of literacy were much lower.

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