12 Dec 2018

Case study: Mary-Kate Willis and Joseph Kretcher

authorIcon By Matthew Brennan

All case studies unless otherwise stated are fictitious, but the laws are real.

Mary-Kate and Joseph are a modern-day couple, they met 5 years ago through mutual friends who introduced them at a pub quiz, they hit it off immediately and have been a couple ever since. Mary-Kate is the more successful of the two and makes a considerable amount more than Joseph. Subsequently when they decided to move in together It was MK who had the money for the deposit and she put her name on the lease.  Joseph contributes his fair share of the loan repayments but neither him nor MK felt any particular rush to update his details on the lease.
Their age is also something to take into consideration, they believed they would live forever. As everyone does at that age. Joseph took his time with finding the right engagement ring and both partners were not stressed about when they got married just as long as it happened before the kids did.  However after 5 years Joseph realised it was time to make the commitment and ask for MK’s hand in marriage. 
Mary-Kates father had always disliked Joseph and felt he was not good enough for his daughter. He though earning less than his daughter was an indicator of a life of dependency. Joseph approached MK’s father hoping to receive his blessing and was saddened to be told that he wasn’t good enough.
As life sometimes happens Mary-Kate had a stress related stroke and died after a short illness in hospital. Joseph was devastated to say the least, his life partner was gone, and his dreams shattered. The unused wedding ring was in his house never fulfilling its purpose. The funeral was a sombre affair, all their mutual friends came. Everyone was shocked and couldn’t believe what had happened. MK’s father kept giving Joseph dirty looks as if it was his fault his daughter had died. 
When Mary-Kate died she passed on into intestate leaving her legacy up to the laws of intestate to allocate her estate. Joseph really had no idea about intestate and was unaware of his dead girlfriends father’s plan to maximise his pain. The intestate laws meant that even though Joseph had contributed to the payments of the house he did not own it and MK died she left the house in intestate to her parents. MK’s father took advantage of this and informed Joseph that he had to move out of the house. 
After seeking legal advice Joseph realised his only option to hold onto his home was through legal action and took court action against MK’s father seeking provisions within her estate. This process is lengthy and expensive and there was no safety net guaranteeing success.  Joseph had to prove he lived there and that him and MK were a couple and that he had just as much right to the house as her father did. 
The property of the house was valued at £500 000, the first £325 000 are tax free and the value was split between Joseph and MK’s father after reaching an agreement out of court. Neither Joseph nor MK’s father feel they won here because the cost of settling in court would have left them both with far less. The remaining £175 000 was taxed at 40% and the remaining profits were split up in two. Leaving the two men with £232 000 settled into the claim. The bank in the sale took an additional £100 000 which was left owing in the mortgage that MK took out on the property. After all of that both Joseph and his father were left with about £182 500 each. Not to mention the fact that neither Joseph nor his dead girlfriends’ father truly got what they wanted out of the deal and MK certainly did not.
With MyPaperVault, we want to avoid this type of common case study from occurring. When you register an account with us, you assign executors to your will as part of the registration and you and the executors know where the will is stored and how to get access to it at any time. Additionally our online function allows the client to access their documentation and make changes to it as they need too and store several versions of their documents with us.
 
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