Amy’s drug-addled ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil left out of her £10million will

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Amy Winehouse left her drug-addled former husband out of her will to ensure he could not win a slice of her fortune.

The singer, who will be cremated today following a Jewish service for friends and family, made provisions to ensure Blake Fielder-Civil would not get a penny following their divorce in 2009.

Her fortune was estimated at £6million in the Sunday Times Rich List of April, but is now said to surpass £10million and growing.

Her acclaimed album Back To Black topped the iTunes chart in 17 countries yesterday, including the UK and the U.S., and is expected to top the official UK charts this week.

Legal experts said Miss Winehouse’s wealth would be divided among her immediate family, including her mother Janis, who is suffering from multiple sclerosis, father Mitch and older brother Alex.

Her parents split when she was nine and are divorced.

A close family friend said: ‘Don’t expect everything to be straightforward. Janis is very sweet, but very meek and not in the best of health, Mitch is always the one in charge.’

The body of the singer was yesterday released to her family after they were forced to carry out the arduous task of identifying her at St Pancras Coroner’s Court.

Her parents broke down in tears as they visited a growing shrine outside their daughter’s £2.5million home in Camden Square, North London.

Last night, a close friend told the Daily Mail Miss Winehouse had put her affairs in order following her tumultuous two-year marriage to Fielder-Civil, 29, who is currently in prison.

She wrote the majority of Back To Black about their stormy romance and the friend said: ‘Around the time of the divorce, all of Amy’s finances were sorted out – and Blake can’t get his hands on any of it.

‘I am pretty sure that Amy does have a will. As a matter of course with record contracts, financial advisers will make sure that is done.’

Fielder-Civil was sentenced to 32 months in jail last month for burglary and possession of an imitation firearm.

Speaking from her home in Ruskington, Lincolnshire, his mother Georgette said: ‘He’s devastated and profiting from Amy’s death would be the last thing on his mind.’

Miss Winehouse’s friends and family will today attend a service at a North London cemetery before her body is cremated in Golders Green.

Attribution:

Amy’s drug-addled ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil left out of her £10million will
Sara Nathan/Simon Cable
July 26, 2011
dailymail.co.uk
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2018757/Amy-Winehouse-dead-Blake-Fielder-Civil-left-10m-will.html

Additional coverage:

Amy Winehouse’s Will: Singer-Songwriter Played It Smart
Ron Dicker
July 26, 2011
DailyFinance.com
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/07/26/amy-winehouses-will-singer-songwriter-played-it-smart/

Despite the tumultuous life Amy Winehouse led in her 27 years, she managed to stabilize matters after her death with an ironclad will, according to reports. Let this be a lesson to both the famous and the obscure: A will is a good idea at any adult age.

“The issue is, you never know when you will pass away,” estate attorney Kenneth Meskin of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus in Bridgewater, N.J., told DailyFinance. “Particularly when you’re young and your life is unsettled, it may be more important.”

The question of who would reap the spoils from the singer’s creative output, which includes two albums and an as-yet-published third, had at first pointed toward her ex-husband, the jailed thief Blake Fielder-Civil. English law tends to favor an ex-spouse if no new will has been written since the divorce, according to Forbes.com.

But Winehouse’s most recent will did omit Fielder-Civil, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday, so her fortune, estimated between $9.8 million and $32.8 million, will go to her parents, Janis and Mitch, and her brother Alex. (The Mail put her assets at $16.4 million.)

The prospect of Fielder-Civil, who reportedly introduced Winehouse to hard drugs, benefiting from her passing was one of many uncomfortable scenarios that could have played out without a will in place. “I can envision that there’s a number of significant legal issues arising out of her assets,” said Meskin, who has no relation to the case.

But Winehouse made her wishes known in the most legally airtight way possible, and you don’t need to have royalties from a Grammy-hogging album like Back to Black to go the same route. A will is a commonsense precaution for grownups with something to lose after they’re gone. “The more assets you have, the more important it is,” Meskin said.

In this country, the states decide on the pecking order of beneficiaries in the event someone dies without a will, Meskin said. “Instead of you making your decisions, your state in which you reside makes the decisions.”

Here are a few other facts about wills that you should know:

• Any adult who is accruing assets should think about a will. But once you’ve accumulated $100,000 or more in assets, you should get serious about it, Meskin said. There are several do-it-yourself methods that can help. One reputable one is Quicken WillMaker Plus, sold at www Nolo.com for $41.99, according to Janet Novack of Forbes.com. If you have more than $200,000 in assets, seek the help of a professional, Meskin advised.

• One of the more important determinations in a will is the executor.
This is the person you trust to carry out your wishes. Again, each jurisdiction has a designee in place based on familial relationships, if you didn’t choose for yourself. If the lawful order assigns someone you didn’t trust while you were alive, you’re stuck with that person when you’re dead. How’s that for resting in peace?

• It’s all about the kids. Perhaps the most important question you will face if you’re a parent is who would take custody of your minor children if both you and your spouse have passed. Put it in the will, or the court will decide. Getting that choice down in writing can eliminate the guessing, fighting and expense of a court battle, Meskin said.

On many fronts, having a will makes sense — even for those without a lot of dollars and cents. Said Meskin: “Those without significant assets should have their wishes known, or a court will decide.”

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