How to avoid having the contents of your Will aired on ‘Judge Rinder’
18 April 2016 by Amy Burton
A 21 year old lady from Faversham, Kent has recently found herself on the ITV show ‘Judge Rinder’ in respect of the legacy due to her from her late grandmother’s estate.
Chyna had been 14 years old when her grandmother, Ros, passed away. Under the terms of her grandmother’s Will, she was to inherit the sum of £6,500 when she attained the age of 21.
Chyna’s step-uncle Phillip, had been appointed as the executor and trustee of Ros’ estate and was responsible for ensuring that Chyna, together with her 10 cousins, would receive their inheritance when they reached the age of 21. However, over the course of seven years, rather than safely investing the money, he decided to spend it.
Judge Rinder was told how Chyna had been looking forward to receiving her inheritance, so that she could pay for the equestrian course she desperately wanted to go on, as well as putting some of the money towards a new car and a holiday to celebrate her 21st birthday.
Phillip had claimed that as he was now unemployed, he was unable to pay the money back. He did however say that he would make attempts to rectify the situation.
Judge Rinder, who is a Barrister in his own right, concluded the ‘hearing’ with the following statement:
“Whether Phillip intended to put the money back or not, the reality is he should never have touched that money in the first place but as a result your 21st birthday came and went and your grandmother’s intentions were absolutely ignored. For that Phillip, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself”.
The format of the show follows that of the American hit show Judge Judy and any ‘awards’ made by Judge Rinder are capped at £5,000. The hearings however do not hold any legal weight or implications and are primarily for entertainment purposes only.
In this case, Judge Rinder did allow Chyna’s claim of the maximum available award of £5,000.
Whether Chyna is able to recoup this amount from her step-uncle Phillip is unfortunately an entirely different matter. Let’s hope however that she does recover some of the legacy left to her by her late grandmother. Chyna would have a right in law to pursue Phillip for the full legacy amount through the UK legal system, but of course that costs money and ultimately there is absolutely no guarantee of being able to recoup the funds if they don’t exist.
It is for this reason that many people choose to appoint professional executors and trustees in their Wills, such as solicitors, financial advisers or accountants. We have strict rules which we have to adhere to and are subject to heavy regulations.
Whoever you decided to appoint in your Will, just ensure that it is somebody who you can whole-heartedly trust to keep safe custody of inheritance funds. Nobody wants to have to go on a national TV programme and broadcast their private family affairs, so think twice before entrusting a family member with such a responsibility.
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