A millionaire's failure to write a will has left his widow fighting to gain ownership of his estate from her two young children.
London businessman Mark Butler died of cancer last year aged just 42, leaving behind an estate worth around £2.2 million.
However, he neglected to write a will, meaning that under the laws of intestacy just £125,000 has been passed to his wife.
The couple's two children, aged one and three, have inherited the remainder of the estate.
Ms Butler has now launched legal action against the children, who will be represented by another family member, to gain control of the inheritance.
Neglecting to write a will is a common failure and experts say the Butler case, while extreme, is an example of what can happen if someone dies intestate.
Intestacy laws state that if an individual is married and has an estate worth more than £125,000 their spouse will receive their personal items, £125,000 free of tax or £200,000 if there are no children and a life interest in half of the remainder of the estate.
The rest will pass to the children, grandchildren or other family members.
Published on: July 17, 2008