Plan for the worst

This week it was reported that a British multi-millionaire businessman, who died in a plane crash in Australia, has left £41million to charity.

Richard Cousins, who was the chief executive of catering firm Compass Group, died in a seaplane crash near Sydney on New Year’s Eve 2017.

The 58-year-old had planned to leave the bulk of his wealth to his two sons, but tragically they died with him, along with his fiancé and her daughter.

Prior to his holiday to Australia, Mr Cousins had inserted a common tragedy clause, sometimes referred to as a doomsday provision, into his Will. This is a clause to cover what happens in the worst case scenario of the main beneficiaries dying so in that event his estate would pass to the charity Oxfam.

This sad tale demonstrates the importance of using a Solicitor to draw up your Will to ensure all eventualities are covered.

Often people want everything to be passed on to their spouse and, in due course, their children. It may seem strange or difficult to be asked ‘what happens if there is a family tragedy and none of you survive?’

However, Solicitors are trained to ask the ‘what if questions,’ so that they can ensure that the Will is drafted to cover all situations.

If Mr Cousins had not covered the worst case scenario in his Will or if he had not made a Will at all, then his assets would pass under the rules of intestacy.

If you would like to discuss making a Will contact Caroline Wallis who is the Head of wills and Probate at Phillips Solicitors. You can send an email to or call her on 01256 854637.