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Discreet arrangements in favour of the mistress / lover

Not every extramarital liaison finds such a happy ending as the one of Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles.

In 1898 29-year-old Alice Keppel met Edward, Prince of Wales, 56-year-old heir apparent to the throne. Shortly after they met they became lovers.

After Edwards accession to the throne, Alice Keppel, noted for her wisdom and political judgement, became his political advisor – tolerated by Queen Alexandra.

Still Alice Keppel lost her privileged position even before Edward’s decease. As soon as Edward VII lost his consciousness, Queen Alexandra ordered the doctors to get rid of her husband’s mistress. Even the king’s testament could not prevent this to happen.

Still Edward had taken care of certain arrangements to ensure his mistresses sustenance. Mainly by giving generous presents and providing important business contacts.

Through her royal association, Keppel was a wealthy woman at the time of Edward’s death in 1910 and not dependent on the inheritance.

Discreet transfers of assets, such as endowments, life assurances and further contracts to the benefit of a third party on death would also nowadays be the royal road to provide a beloved person outside the family.

Those donations can, on the other hand, provoke claims for an augmented compulsory portion filed by close relatives. Besides, those claims can be significantly reduced by precise advance inheritance planning.

Appointing the beloved person as a testamentary heir by ordering an execution of the will is in contrast not a feasible way. A community of heirs consisting of the wife and the mistress entails the risk of serious conflicts.

Not discreet, but another notion could be the disposal of a legacy (gift to which is passed under the terms of a will) in favour of the beloved person. Nonetheless, the legacy must be enforced. Moreover, the heirs might argue that such a testament as being a „Geliebtentestament” (mistress testament) is illicit.

Even so, the requirements in order to declare such a testament illicit are demanding (e.g. OLG Düsseldorf, Beschluss vom 22.08.2008, Az. I-3 Wx 100/08).

To reduce claims for an augmented compulsory portion, British citizens, living in Germany or another EU-Member-State applying the new EU regulation on succession from August 17th (the UK, Ireland and Denmark are not parties to the Succession Regulation), can choose British inheritance law by testament.

From a German perspective, the right to choose a law is also applicable for German citizens, deceased after August 16th, 2015 and having their domicile in Great Britain.

A choice of law can be interesting as particularly the English and Welsh legislation do not contain the right to a compulsory portion.

About more detailed questions on family provisions, stated by the „Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975”, I will be pleased to provide further assistance.

Lesen Sie hier die deutsche Übersetzung.


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