Businessman leaves fortune to charity after common tragedy clause

Businessman leaves fortune to charity after common tragedy clause

A British businessman who died alongside his family in a helicopter crash has reportedly left £41 million of his fortune to the charity Oxfam in a recently updated will.

Richard Cousins, the head of the catering company Compass died in a seaplane crash in Sydney on New Year’s Eve along with his fiancée, her daughter and his two sons.

Oxfam received the majority of the fortune with Mr Cousins’ brothers both receiving £1million.

He had originally planned to leave his wealth to his sons William and Edward, but a year before the accident he drew up a new will inserting a common tragedy clause that would come into force if he and his sons were all killed together.

But what is a common tragedy clause?

A common tragedy clause allows for arrangements to be made for where your estate will go if all your immediate family die at the same time as you.

It is similar to a catch all provision that many people will include in their wills to cover all possibilities that don’t come under individual terms. Most solicitors will cover every eventuality including the unlikely event of your whole family dying.

If you have not added this clause, or even do not have a will, then the money will go through the rules intestacy, where a list of family members is worked through until someone alive is found to inherit your assets.

However some people will not want relatives to have this, if they don’t get on with each other or the relatives are already wealthy.

In these cases, many people will pick a charity or a cause close to their heart.