Melinda Giles Where there's a Contested Will there's a Story - especially when it involves a Python and the Life of Brian star..

Where there’s a Will, there’s a Family, and Where there’s a Contested Will there’s a Story…especially when it involves a Python and the Life of Brian star.

The Daily Mail have reported that the late Monty Python star, Terry Jones, has left a Will that is being contested.  The way it is reported suggests the age old story of “older man leaves all his estate to younger woman and excludes his children”.  The photos support this – the comfy image of his wife in the 1970’s photo (it is now 2021…), and the belly dancing  second wife photo taken in 2005 when she was a student (it is now 2021, and she is his widow, and mother of his 12 year old child).

I am not pre-judging this case, and I am not on anyone’s side – but I would like to see a more balanced report – one that explains the law maybe.

Here are the things we are told, and what they mean, and the things we are not told: 

1.     That Terry Jones divorced and then married Anna.  Divorce carries with it a financial settlement – we do not know the details of that and what Terry’s first wife may have received in settlement after a long marriage.  Marriage also carries with it obligations – it is a legal contract.  Terry’s second wife would be entitled if he had no will, and for some form of financial provision.

2.     We are told that Terry had some form of dementia when he married Anna and when he made his will. We do not know if this correct, but more importantly a diagnosis does not automatically mean that he lacked mental capacity to make a will at the time he made it.   Even if he had lacked that capacity, perhaps he had sufficient to know that he wanted to revoke his previous will (which would leave him without one), and even if he had no capacity to change a will, his marriage would have invalidated his previous will.  In that case Anna would be entitled to everything.

3.     Is there any question that he lacked capacity to marry Anna?  I have not read this anywhere – therefore this raises the interesting point that you can understand the contract of marriage, but in some cases (not necessarily this one), not have the capacity to make a new will. Most solicitors would be very careful over capacity when acting for a client.

4.     We are told in this article that Anna has no plans to disinherit his children.  Presumably this means his eldest 2 children from his first marriage, and she is not referring to her own child who is also Terry’s child.  They are all his children, and hers is very young and probably was financially dependent upon her father.  I read somewhere that she may have special needs; potentially even more dependent then.

This is not all lawyer speak – this is the stuff of every day relationships and the implications of them.  Also, the fall out when one of more of those with whom you have (or had) a relationship feel unfairly treated.  However, there is often more than one way of being fair.  

We do not know enough to suggest a solution. We are told that vast sums have been paid in legal fees; this is may or may not be so.  It may be that the ingredients of this sad situation following the death of someone that clearly all parties loved at one stage, are so complex, that there is no easy solution that is fair for everyone.  It is easy to criticise and to judge people for being greedy or selfish, but we really do not know enough. From this article anyway.

 


Awards & Recognitions

The expertise of our solicitors is regularly recognised by some of the profession’s most distinguished organisations. As well as being a member of a number of Law Society schemes, we have won awards at the Law Society Excellence Awards, the Halsbury Legal Awards and the Modern Law Awards. We have also received recognition in the form of the Lexcel mark of quality, a Legal 500 listing and a place on the shortlist of The Lawyer’s Boutique Firm of the Year.

Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson
Awards and Recognitions of Giles Wilson