A woman has urged people to make sure they have a valid Will after opening up about the turmoil which engulfed her following the sudden death of her husband.
Danaë and Robin Brook were old friends who had been reunited in middle age and got together following the end of their respective marriages.
They tied the knot themselves in 2000, although Robin had failed to rewrite his Will at the time.
14 years later a set of tests revealed that he had lung cancer and while he started to take steps to put his affairs in order, he died of a cardiac arrest the night before he was due to sign the document.
In a candid piece for the Daily Mail newspaper, Danaë spoke about the difficulties that followed.
“Until that point, intestacy was not even a word in my vocabulary, but I discovered its full meaning only too quickly after Robin’s death,” she wrote. “If you die without signing your will – no matter that your family and your lawyers know exactly what your wishes are – all your choices are null and void.
“Your property and your money become subject to the rules of intestacy, and these are so densely draconian you will probably never fully understand them.”
Danaë confesses the couple had never given adequate thought to Wills and this paved the way for “misunderstanding and conflict” among the family.
She said that after two and a half years of mediation, the situation is still only partly resolved and she hopes her story will persuade others to make the necessary arrangements.
“People who love one another usually intend each other to mourn in peace, ideally in the home they shared. Now I know that unless wishes are laid out unequivocally in legal terms, and correctly witnessed, that won’t happen.
“Make a will. Sign it. Otherwise, what will happen is what happened to me.”