KXBbwBefore Charles Dickens was a successful writer he worked in a legal office as a clerk so it’s not surprising that Lawyers have prominent roles in many of his books.

One of his most famous books is “Bleak House”. A major plot point in the book is a legal case that went for so long that all the money in dispute was spent in legal fees. Dickens usually did not portray lawyers in a favourable light. In this book he described the lawyer character as “always looking at the client, as if making a lingering meal of him with his eyes”.

Dickens’ fictional court case was inspired by a real case that had been going on for about 55 years at the time the book was first published.

The real case arose out of the death of William Jennens in 1798. Mr Jennens had various nicknames but “William the Rich” fitted him very well. When he died at the age of 97 he was regarded as “the richest common in England” leaving an estate of about $750 million in present terms.

Despite his enormous wealth and business acumen, he died without leaving a Will. He was also a bachelor and apparently did not have any children so relatives from near and far made claims upon his estate.

The various court cases associated with his estate went on for 117 years and ultimately only concluded when all the money had been spent on legal fees.

The moral of the tale is that failure to take a prudent legal step – in that case to make a Will – can have enormous ramifications future for you and your family.

Everyone needs a properly drawn Will. Every business owner, and in our area this applies particularly to farmers, needs a properly prepared business succession plan. Failure to plan ahead almost always leads to very significant financial and personal costs in the longer term.

At Everingham Solomons we have the expertise to help you with all your personal and business planning needs because Helping You is Our Business.

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