Mind At Rest Wills
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Mind At Rest Wills Blog

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Updated 27/04/2016

According to the Law Society in the United Kingdom, roughly one in three people die without a legal will in place and therefore die intestate. Dying without a will in place is a something all adults, especially those with children should avoid.

I have blogged about this in previous posts such as Why do I need a Willand Law of Intestacy.

There are many reasons that people give for not making a Will, some of these can be found in a recent blog post called Excuses.

Putting something off that people either don’t understand or just do not like talking about is all too common. For example, currently, in the UK we are experiencing a heat wave.

The sun is shining, we are thinking happy thoughts looking forward to putting our feet up at the end of a busy working week and rolling out the family barbecue or chilling out in a local pub garden with our family and friends.

We can’t really blame people for this, it is just human nature after all who wants to think about the doom and gloom subject of wills Right?

As a Will writing consultant this got me thinking about other ways in which the message about the importance of making a Will could be put across so that people could better relate to the problems that can occur when a Will is not put in place.

So I decided to find out if the rich and famous have too, fallen foul to human nature or if they were better prepared. Prior to carrying out my research, credits at the bottom of this post, I initially thought it wouldn’t turn up much info, largely because I automatically assumed that the rich and famous would have a solid support network of legal teams consultants and advisers, ensuring that no stone was left unturned.

Little did I know that this was not the case and below is the list of just a few of the famous people who died without a legal will in place.


In probate documents filed with the Carver County District Court in Minnesota, Tyka Nelson, 55, Prince’s sister, said that her brother died without a spouse, children or surviving parents, and that “I do not know of the existence of a will.”

Rik Mayall

The Comedian well known for staring in Television Shows like The Young Ones, The New Statesman and many others died suddenly in 2014 at the young age of 56 failing to leave a valid will to deal with his £1.2m estate.

Paul Shane

The HI-DE-HI! star and comic, did not leave a will and his estate was shared between his three daughters..

Amy Winehouse

Died in intestate, probate records revealed that her £3 million fortune went to her parents.

Stieg Larsson

The author of “The Girl who Played with Fire”, died without leaving a will, his estate was inherited by his father, rather than his partner.

Jill Dando

Leaving behind her father, brother and her fiance not having a Will meant her estate went to father and not her fiance.

Heath Ledger

Did have a Will, however, it was not updated as a result of this his daughter Matilda was left out of a will completed before her birth.

Bob Marley

Had six children by different ‘baby mothers’ and three by his wife. Marley did not make a will. He left an estimated $30 million, and dozens of claimants which lead to squabbles over his legacy.

Barry White

Left children, wives and girlfriends fighting over his fortune when he died.

Jimi Hendrix

Died in 1970 and the battle over his estate raged on for years.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr

Died without drafting a Will.

Salvatore Phillip “Sonny” Bono

Died without a Will. His widow headed to the courthouse to be appointed the estate’s administrator. Ex-wife Cher showed up on the scene as a claimant and a “love child” surfaced soon thereafter making the situation even more difficult.

Pablo Picasso

Died intestate and left no Will, it took 6 years to settle his estate at a cost of $30 million. His assets were eventually divided up among six heirs.

Adam Goldstein ( DJ AM )

Did not have a Will. In Goldstein’s case however, he had no heirs and was not married, his estate was fairly straightforward with his mother as the sole beneficiary.

Michael Jackson

Although a Will was later discovered, immediately following Michael Jackson’s death, his mother filed court papers claiming that Jackson died intestate.

Howard Hughes

When he died, his will was discovered at the headquarters of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City. The Will, however, was proved to be a forgery in a Nevada court and his estate was divided among his 22 cousins.

Tupac Shakur

Died without a will and his mother had to file court papers.

Billie Holiday

Died in July 1959 and left no Will .

Marvin Gaye

Reportedly left no Will.

Sam Cooke

Reportedly died without a Will.

Abraham Lincoln

The 16th US president and a lawyer left no Will.

James Brown (Godfather of Soul)

Had a Will, however, it had not been updated.

John Denver

Did not leave a will when he crashed an experimental plane and died in 1997. His family had to wait six years while the estate ground through probate court.

So here ends the proof that famous people also fall foul to human nature.

The lesson to be learned is that in most cases making a Will is simple and not too costly. Having a legal Will in place can save your loved ones from a lot of unnecessary stress.

Speak to a professional today, not tomorrow or next week, if you put it off you may just be too late, initial consultations are usually free and once you have taken the first step its all managed for you so you can continue to pursue the fun things in life, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done the right thing for your future bloodline.

Research Credits