He then attacked his wife, who managed to escape, and then disappeared, with allegations that his wealthy gambling friends helped him flee the country. Although he was reportedly spotted in various exotic places over the years since his disappearance, he has never been found.
I grew up reading and hearing the details of this case and not so long ago watched the television programme that Lady Lucan made, for the first time giving her side of what had happened. Thinking she was developing symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, she killed herself, after years of mental health problems. She'd spent her final years as a recluse and hadn't spoken to her sister or to her three children since the 1980s.
The case had previously been resurrected in 2016 when, 42 years after disappearing, a High Court Judge allowed a Death Certificate to be issued for Lord Lucan. I read at the time that his son, who became the eighth Lord Lucan as a result, was insisting that the case was still a mystery and he felt his father was innocent, with there being some other explanation for what had happened. This same man appears to have accepted his mother's failure to share what she left behind with him and his siblings, saying that he applauded the decision, although it may have helped that he is apparently married to a wealthy wife. However, it must have hurt a bit to read that his mother explained in her Will that she had cut the children out for this reason:
"In view of the lack of good manners and reverence shown to me as their parent, I do not wish any of my three children to benefit from my death any more than they have to".
When preparing a Will for a client I may be asked to include some personal comments and there are times when I may even encourage this, if I think it may be helpful for the people affected, as of course they cannot ask questions of the deceased to help understand their reasons and perhaps be more accepting of them. Often these are positive comments, showing affection or gratitude to a well-loved member of the family or a good friend, and recipients of such comments are very moved at being mentioned. However, sometimes a Will can be used to settle a score or contain the final wry comment which gives the deceased the final say or last laugh. It must surely have hurt to be the wife of William Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway, who was only left his "second best bed" with the majority of his estate passing to his daughter.
Making a Will does not have to involve point scoring or having the last laugh, of course, but is it important for everyone to take the time to consider what you wish to achieve, so that the Will you make is a true reflection of your wishes and that there are no legal challenges to it. Including anything which is too wacky may increase the chances of the Will being overturned.
We can help you focus on the issues that may cause problems and suggest options for your Will that may avoid causing rifts in the family, or to make sure that your estate passes only to those that you choose. It is also important to keep your Will up to date, as you may change your mind over the years about someone, but not update your Will accordingly, with unintended results. A well drafted Will, even if it does cause a few surprises, will make it much easier to deal with matters when the time comes for it to be put into operation.
My favourite story is the American millionaire who used his Will to put his enormous wealth out of reach of his family for almost a century. He died in 1919 but said that his vast fortune would not be passed on until 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild. She died in 1989, and in November 2010, nearly 100 years later, 12 people discovered that they were beneficiaries of his estate, described as a "legacy of bitterness", although they were able to share a fortune estimated to be worth $110 million.