Blackadder actress Patsy Byrne, who most will know as Nursie in the second series of the show, died in June last year and left over £1.5 million to her five step-daughters – but the interesting nature of this story emerged only recently, as it was revealed that she left around £900,000 solely to her fifth step-daughter for her to distribute between family and friends as she saw fit.
According to the Mirror article, Byrne left £20,000 to each of her step-children and the rest to her fifth step-daughter, who has been given the task of dividing the remaining fortune between them all. Byrne also left significant amounts to charity, including St Joseph's Hospice in Hackney, east London, and the Little Sisters of the Poor Care Home in Kennington.
Whilst the family have stated that there have been no arguments about one sister receiving the majority of the fortune, and that they have come to an amicable decision about how to split the money, family disputes over the way in which inheritances are split are all too common.
It is advised that wills should be drafted with explicit instructions on how assets are to be divided. Individuals should not bank on beneficiaries to 'do the right thing' as this means beneficiaries are then put under a moral obligation, rather than a legal one, which can complicate matters.
What do you make of this rather unusual will set-up? Do you think individuals should allow for flexibility in who receives what from their estate, or do you believe this to be a dangerous practice?