Sunday, 1 June 2014

Legally Speaking

This piece is inspired by the picture from the Light and Shade Challenge and also by a short story I read in an old copy of The Strand Magazine, vintage around the time of the Great War, I think around 1917, though I gave it a different twist.  As I am scraping in at the last minute the word count is utterly shot but I hope you will forgive me.  

Image courtesy of hisks on

"Your late wife sat in this office and sobbed when I explained that under English law that she could not get divorced until she had been married a year.  On the exact date of her first anniversary I believe she was on her way to see me when she was pushed under a train."
"I was in Liverpool at the time."
"Unless disposed of by will your late wife's extensive trust fund goes automatically to her sister, just as her pension and life insurance did.  I believe she changed the nominated heir after her first meeting with me."
"We made a will on the way to the church."

"I understand that immediately after the ceremony you were too busy having carnal relations with the chief bridesmaid to take legal advice.  Unfortunately, under English Law, a will is made null and void after a marriage.  It no longer applies.  You would have had to made the will after the wedding.  The trust fund goes to your late wife's sister.  And can I ask where I can send the invoice for this consultation?"

As a footnote, I am not legally trained but years ago I worked in a court (very minor position) and I think it is actually scary how little most people know about the small details that can make a difference.  It's okay if you are dealing with good people but there can be so many pitfalls.  It really is worthwhile keeping wills, insurances etc up to date and making sure you have a handle on what it all actually means.  Another footnote, normally I use 'British' rather than English, but Scottish law is different from the law in England and Wales.  One of those strange anachronisms that earn lawyers a fortune.  


  1. As is always the case, only the lawyer wins

  2. Lovely and informative. It's true many innocent people suffer due to lack of proper legal knowledge/ advice.