Walter Swinburn “the Choirboy” dies intestate.

By 2nd May 2018March 12th, 2021Uncategorised

Walter Swinburn, one of the most renowned jockeys of his generation and rider of the brilliant Shergar, has died, aged 55.

Nicknamed the ‘Choirboy’, Swinburn partnered Shergar to glory in the 1981 Derby at the age of 19 – winning by 10 lengths, and went onto to win two further Derby’s with Shahrastani (1986) and Lammtarra (1995).

An exceptionally brave and talented jockey, who will be sadly missed by the racing fraternity and by his many admirers.

Walter died without making a will and his estate of £3.8M was passed to his two children (he and his former wife separated in 2014 after 10 years of marriage).

When a person dies without leaving a valid will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a will is called an intestate person.

  • If you die without a will, your estate is distributed under the intestacy rules
  • If your will’s invalid, your estate will be treated as if you had no will
  • There’s a strict order of who would inherit your estate
  • Only direct family will inherit under intestacy: not unmarried partners or friends
  • Situations may be complicated by multiple marriages and divorces
  • Financial dependents who don’t inherit under intestacy may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance Act
  • Making a legally valid will is the best way to protect your estate and have a say on who inherits

The Rules of Intestacy can be harsh as they often don’t allow for modern family relationships – for example:

The Rules of Intestacy make no provision for unmarried and unregistered partners. This means that on Intestacy, the surviving partner will not automatically inherit any of the property and possessions owned in the sole name of the deceased. However, a partner can often make a valid inheritance claim instead, or the family can legally vary the distribution on intestacy to provide for the partner.

The Rules of Intestacy only recognise natural and adopted children for inheritance; they do not acknowledge step children. However, in many cases step children can often have a valid claim.

As Walter hadn’t made a will then it is “odds on” that he would not have planned to avoid Inheritance Tax, so our estimate of the likely IHT bill is around £ 1,340,000

The only way to make it absolutely clear who should inherit your property and possessions after you pass away is by making a Will.