Women in History

Having changed career a couple of times in my life and gained formal qualifications up to MSc I am an advocate of remembering women that changed our world but received little, if any recognition. Education for women wasn’t a priority and the struggles to be heard and listened to must have felt insurmountable. This leads me to write about Sarah Maria Beach who was born in Birmingham, England to parents Richard and Mary Beach on the Monday 5th November 1770.  

(Stencil by Stewy from a portrait by Isambard Kingdom Brunel)

Setting the scene

Women had no say in society and no right to vote until the 19th Century. Education was for men only. What must that have been like if you were a woman that had ideas and wanted more than the society norms?

Women were perceived as inferior to men and their role in society was that of childbearing, needlework and to please their husband! Women could not own properties or leave the house without a chaperone and were confined to the home, filling their time with knitting, sewing and their children.  Women were considered intellectually inferior to their male counterparts. This seems incomprehensible in our society today. I have been educated and have had the opportunity to study at university and gained many qualifications to my name. Much of the change we see now came about through women like Sarah and the suffragette movement in the 19th century.

(Photo Glasgow Women’s Library)

There were women that broke the mould in the 1700’s and strived to be heard, wanting education like their male counterparts. Sarah Maria Beach was born in this era of suppressed women but clearly wanted her ideas and inventions to be recognised.

Sarah married Samuel Guppy in 1795 and in 1811 Sarah had patented the first of her inventions, although Sarah could not file for a patent under her name as she was a woman! Now considering the lack of formal education and society’s views about women, this was a remarkable achievement. Sarah had patented a method of making safe piling for bridges. Thomas Telford gained Sarah’s permission to use her design for suspension bridge foundations. Sarah did not get any financial renumeration from Thomas as she waived any fee. I wonder why she did this? Was it pressure from her husband about earning an income or was it that she hadn’t fully appreciated her role in this invention? Monetary gain could have been seen as indecent in the society of that time. There appears to be little evidence that Sarah was given any credit for her inventions by the engineers that used them. Sarah was ahead of her time with her designs and inventions.

(First page of Sarah Guppy’s bridge patent of 1811)

Sarah was a family friend of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and she became involved in the Great Western Railway. In 1841 Sarah wrote a letter to the committee, recommending planting willows and poplars to stabilise embankments. Sarah had written about the unpleasantness of speaking about herself as it was considered boastful. This gives an insight into how even though she had patented her ideas, Sarah was still bound by society and how they perceived a woman.

Sarah was fortunate to grow up in a wealthy family, she was educated and had around her many innovative thinkers. Sarah learned how to run a business and learned about the engineering industry due to her husband Samuel being a machinery builder. Samuel clearly did not feel threatened by his wife taking an interest in his manufacturing and engineering business and encouraged Sarah to get involved with negotiating business deals.

Sarah Guppy also contributed to female education rights, public health issues and agriculture and used her social status as a platform for the welfare of vulnerable groups. Sarah encouraged progress and positively reinforced the need for change to ensure equal rights for all.

In later life the widowed Sarah married Richard Eyre Coote, 28 years her junior. Unfortunately, he spent all her money and she eventually left him, living on her own before she died at the age of 81.

Sarah’s suspension bridge design has paved the way for modern infrastructure and the Clifton Suspension Bridge would not exist without her design. I am uncertain whether Sarah was too modest to take credit and financial renumeration for her designs or whether the pressure of society did not enable her to take ownership of them. The one thing that is certain is that Sarah made a positive change for women throughout the world.

Karen Wells

Avalon Legal Blog, Copyright June 2022

Relocating to Devon

I thought I would write on the adventures of moving and relocating house, care home, school, and business. Now where to start!

The first step to planning on such a life changing move was deciding on a location. Easier said than done. We made a list of ten locations with positives and negatives for each area. We did this as a family so that our daughter was fully immersed in the process.

Having settled on locations, we booked a hotel and went to visit them. The next step was to choose the house! That was more challenging as we found people reluctant to sell to us as not regarded as local, even though Colin was born and brought up in Devon. Having met setbacks on several properties we liked we decided to look at new builds, something we hadn’t considered previously.

We looked at three designs of new builds and settled on one due to the build quality and location. Next came the “yes we’d like to buy this” step and were met with challenges over a 28-day exchange. We hadn’t anticipated that! Such a small window of time to exchange but we managed it and secured our new plot. It had its foundations and that was about it! The show home looked amazing though. Now to think about all the other complications and planning to go with this major move.

Now there was the problem of when to hand my notice in at work. I had worked in the NHS for twenty-one years and managed my current department for the last 7 years. My three months notice period had to be timed exactly right. I knew I wasn’t going back to the NHS but wanted to start a new venture using all the skills I have learned over the last 21 years. Avalon Legal Consultancy was formed, and I would share an office and work alongside Colin at Avalon Legal.

Relocating Avalon Legal wasn’t too difficult as the advance in online meetings and appointments helped. We needed an office though and finding one that suited our needs was challenging. Eventually we found our new office location at the Airport Business Centre in Plymouth. Perfect space and location for us and it even has a fantastic café onsite called Al’s Kitchen. The breakfasts and coffee are exceptionally good.

Our property in Surrey was already listed with the estate agent and our accommodation in Devon was sorted but now for schools. Oh yes, the joy of moving schools. Did you know that you only have so many days to accept and start once a school place has been offered? Our new house wouldn’t be ready if we accepted the place, but places are limited. What should we do? Well, we decided to move in with Colin’s parents until our new home is ready for us to move in. This meant we could accept the school place and our daughter could start. We didn’t really think about the coordination of trying to sell our London house and living over two hundred miles away! More challenges!

We now needed to view the school and meet the head teacher. A trip to Devon was needed again. The school was like the one our daughter attended in Surrey, so the transition would hopefully be easier.

The removal men were booked, and all our belongings went into storage. We had to also have a storage unit for things we needed to access for the office and home. On the removal day, it took three hours for the removal company to pack away our belongings onto the lorry and left our house which now felt empty and devoid of any personal affects. We still had the sofas and TV to watch thankfully and beds to sleep in.

We followed our furniture down south one week later and settled into our temporary residence which will be for the next three months.

We now had the task of finding a suitable care home for my relative. This proved difficult as covid stopped some from having visitors or new admissions. Some were not what we wanted and eventually found a lovely nursing home. We then had the planning to sort out for care home to care home transfer! Plus, any equipment that needed to be moved that wouldn’t fit in the transport. A courier was booked for some of the equipment and transport booked for my relative. Now we needed to again drive back to London to ensure the safe transfer of my relative from current care home to the new one.

There is still a lot to organise, but we are all glad we moved down to Devon. Feeling a little tired from our latest travels but looking forward to the future.

Women Scientists-Marie Curie

Avalon Legal Blog

Our blog this month is on famous women that have led change or made a difference to society. Due to our current situation with Covid 19 and the scientists that are working tirelessly to create vaccines for Covid 19, I thought it appropriate to focus on Marie Curie.  

Marie Curie was a scientist and I think it is fair to say most people know what she discovered; and if you do not read on to find out. Marie was born in Poland and later moved to France and met her husband to be, who was also a scientist, called Pierre.

In 1903 Marie and her husband Pierre were awarded the Nobel Prize for their scientific discoveries. They discovered radioactivity and two new elements called polonium and radium. Their ground-breaking work led to the development of radiotherapy and X Rays. Did you know that the first portable X Ray machine was developed and used during World War One, all thanks to Marie and Pierre.  

Then in 1911 Marie was awarded another Nobel prize. This was historically significant with the scientific discoveries and also that Marie was the first woman in history to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize; and the only one to be awarded the Nobel Prize twice. Marie became a professor at the University of Paris in 1906 and was the first woman professor at the university.

The Curie institute in Paris was founded in 1920 and in Warsaw in 1932; both medical research facilities are used for medical research today.

Sadly in 1934 Marie died from Aplastic anaemia from the exposure during her scientific experiments. Today we know about radiation and it’s affect on our bodies. We use precautions when using radiation to minimise the risks to the patient and medical and nursing teams.

Today we have developed further technologies, but the X Ray is still used in conjunction with other medical investigations. Without Marie and Pierre’s work in this field none of this would be possible today.

Copyright Avalon Legal 23rd May 2021

Remembrance Day

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…we will remember them.”

In Flanders Fields

By John Mccrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Haunting words I know however as we enter the time of remembrance, with socially distanced Remembrance Sunday services having taken place across the UK and indeed the world, remembering the fallen in conflict around the world; not only service personnel but also the civilian casualties, the innocent men, women and children who have been caught up, through no fault of their own.

Making a Will was and still is very important for the service man on active duty even in peacetime, the major difference this was and still is called a “Privileged Will”, which extended and extends to any soldier on active service or mariner or seaman being at sea. The term soldier also includes shore based naval or marine personal and members of the RAF, although the term “Active Military Service” is open to some doubt with cases including Re Jones (1976) and Re Rapley (Deceased) (1993) calling into question what active service is.

These Wills were if not written before deployment were written in the field using scraps of paper and whatever writing implement could be found, and example of which is below, taken from a national newspaper archive:

Text, letter

Description automatically generated

A game of noughts and crosses and a will leaving a collection of Sir Walter Scott books to his best friend and the rest of his possessions to his mother was all that was found of Philip Woollatt.

The first world war soldier’s pocketbook – containing the informal will that all servicemen carried – was found furrowed by a bullet after a battle in July 1916 in which it is presumed the 21-year-old died.

This practice still carries on today so that the service man or woman can direct their estate to the right person or persons, rather than die intestate.

During this period of remembering and reflecting, if you are worried about your own estate please contact us.

Avalon Legal

Tel:      02086444441/07506583669

Email: info@avalonlegal.org

Web:  www.avalonlegal.org

Foot note

A doctor by trade, Canada’s John McCrae volunteered for World War I in 1914 and served as a brigade surgeon for an artillery unit. The following year, he had a front row seat to the horrors of the Second Battle of Ypres, where the Germans launched an assault that included the war’s first use of poisonous chlorine gas. While tending to the wounded and mourning the dead—who included his good friend, Alexis Helmer—McCrae put pen to paper on “In Flanders Fields,” a poem written from the point of view of fallen soldiers whose graves are overgrown with wild poppy flowers. “In Flanders fields the poppies blow,” it reads, “Between the crosses, row on row.” John McCrae died from pneumonia and meningitis in 1918, but not before the poem became one of World War I’s most popular and widely quoted works of literature. Among other things, it inspired the use of the poppy as the “flower of remembrance” for the war dead.

Terms and Conditions of Business – Why do businesses need them?

Let’s start with looking at what is meant by terms of business.

The terms and conditions outline the contract between you and your customer for your supply of goods or services. This also regulates your business relationship.

The purpose of setting out terms and conditions is to record what you have agreed and to layout the inflexible terms under which you will accept business.

Businesses focus on generating clients and selling goods or services and without a contract or terms and conditions of business, it will be difficult for businesses to clearly show what they have agreed to provide and what isn’t included in their charges.

The terms will:

  • Define the contract between both parties;
  • Set out your business procedures;
  • Limit your liability; and
  • Protect your business and your rights

Payment upfront

You still need terms of business, which acts as a contract between you and your customer/client.


All businesses want to avoid litigation as it is stressful, expensive and damaging to your business. Terms and conditions help to avoid litigation as they should set out clearly the contract between the business and your customer/client.

Outlining the Agreement

The contract is a written agreement between two parties and details the terms of a transaction. The contract states the work that will be performed, along with important information like due dates and costs. It is better to keep the contract as simple as possible. 

  • State the full scope of works;
  • Outline a general timeline if possible and if possible exact due dates for each milestone. This isn’t always possible if waiting on a third party;
  • Everything discussed should be included in the contract;
  • Payment amounts and terms. State how many days will the person have to pay the invoice and whether it is to be paid before or after work commences and payment method. Is there interest charged on late payments;
  • Outline the circumstances under which the contract can be terminated and how that will be handled. If dispute mediation becomes necessary, the contract should also outline how that will take place;
  • If necessary, one or both parties may choose to include a noncompete or nondisclosure clause; and
  • State terms related to failed obligations. If, for instance, payment isn’t remitted by a certain date, the contract should outline what late payment fee will apply and any interest charges.

Protecting both business and client

Having clear expectations in a contract makes enforceability easier. Knowing that the terms of business are in writing can put pressure on all involved parties to meet their obligations on time. The service provider will probably even routinely check the contract to make sure the work is progressing as agreed.

If an issue arises, having the agreement in writing will make enforcement much easier. If the client decides to work with a different agency halfway through the project, the provider could take legal action to be paid for work performed.

Financial Agreements

The contract will ensure the service provider receives payment in a timely manner. For big projects, this generally means multiple small payments as certain milestones are reached. Payments can be asked for in stages.

A written contract may not always be enough to get paid on time. It is essential to issue invoices and reiterate the terms on that invoice. Give your clients/customers different options to make payments.

Closing the Contract

No business wants to proceed with legal action but the contract between both parties lays out exact terms and conditions for that service or purchase. The contract should be kept for 6 years after closure in case a later issue should arise.

Keeping a template that you can adjust based on lessons learned from previous business transactions is a good idea.

© Karen Wells Avalon Legal 2020


Phone:  020 8644 4441
Mobile:  07506 583669
​Email:   info@avalonlegal.org

Businesses and the new way of working in 2020


The global COVID 19 pandemic has caused extensive socio-economic impacts and put millions of companies all over the world at risk of being forced out of business. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have been hit especially hard and had to adapt to survive.

Businesses have adapted quickly and continue to adapt to the changing circumstances. The way forward is evolving daily and Avalon Legal have developed a checklist to help other businesses survive, adapt and change.

Video conferencing appointments

Prioritising health and safety 

Staying healthy mentally and physically

Make sure you have a COVID-19 policy that aligns with the government’s advice; and an infection-control policy to reduce possible infections. Public Health England has extensive guidance for individuals and businesses to help them re-open as COVID secure areas and to reduce the risk to the lowest possible level.

COVID symptoms

If you or your employee becomes unwell use the NHS COVID symptom checker. Have the list of symptoms accessible and updated regularly.

Mental health resources

Provide mental health resources and support for your employees in accessing them. Many people have developed COVID anxiety and will need time and reassurance to work through their anxieties. Charities such as Mind and Heads Together Wellbeing Hub are offering support that employees and business owners can access. Working from home is isolating so encourage employees to take breaks and encourage catch up’s with staff via online platforms.

Taking a break

Contact details

If you have employees do you have up to date contact details? This is really important and easy to set up an electronic contact folder.

Communicating with employees and customers

Ensure that your employees are aware of your responses to the pandemic and ways you are mitigating risk

Staff and office space will need ongoing risk assessments, following the governments’ advice. Stay in regular touch with your employees and keep them informed of the latest advice. A really good initiative is to provide an electronic news update for your business, then email to employees. This provides reassurance and communicates efficiently the same message to everyone.

Team hub

The team hub should provide your employees with policies that cover

1.       Remote working 

2. Schedules of working

3. Insurance information

4. Risk Assessment pro forma

Business website

Update your website and social media platforms with your working hours and any changes to availability of products. Pinning a post to your Social media outlets ensures customers don’t miss the information. Let customers know if you offer online platforms for meetings. It is a good idea to have a ‘how to guide’ for those that haven’t used a particular online meeting platform. Send this to your customer ahead of the meeting so that they can prepare. If your business is open as usual let your customers know.


Financial- cash flow

Businesses need cash flow to survive. So how do you create sustainable cash flow? Communicate with your accountant and the bank; ensure they are aware of your financial situation. The government have offered support for small businesses but some are excluded from this financial help. Your accountant should be able to provide you with advice accessing the right support. Updates on the governments support can be found on the governments’ website. Plan for a crisis and update your strategy as you progress.


Keep up to date with the rapidly changing situation and adapt as required. This is also an opportunity for taking lessons you’ve learned and will enable future management of a crisis. Mitigate risk and have a strong business continuity plan to future proof your business.

(C) Karen Wells, Avalon Legal


ARETHA FRANKLIN-1942-2018 What happened to Aretha’s estate?

Aretha was born on the 25th March 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA and she died on the 16th August 2018.

Aretha had a successful music career that spanned six decades and had record sales of over 75 million!

Aretha left four adult children to dispute over her estate as she appeared to have died without having made her Will.

It is difficult to understand that a successful musician and singer would have omitted to plan for the distribution of her estate after death.

Aretha’s four children had to list themselves as interested parties in her estate, while her niece asked the court to appoint her as personal representative of the estate.

A year and a half later her niece wrote a letter announcing her intent to resign as executor of the estate. The letter describes the disputes between family members.

When Aretha died in August 2018, no known Will was in existence but in May 2019 her niece discovered three hand-written documents that appeared to be Wills, although they had yet to be verified.
That discovery led to months of legal battles and family tension.

Planning what happens to your estate after death is especially important and can reduce tensions and long and costly legal battles occurring.

It takes no more than 30 minutes of your time to avoid your family falling out for years and swallowing up your estate in legal fees.


Contact us at Avalon Legal for an appointment:

020 8644 4441
Email: info@avalonlegal.org

© Karen Wells – June 2020

Why choose Powers of Attorney?

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic many people are understandably concerned about getting documents in place to allow someone else to make decisions on their behalf and manage their financial affairs.

With many vulnerable people currently being advised to self-isolate this means having an attorney to carry out certain tasks on their behalf is incredibly useful.

Normally when we think of powers of attorney we think of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs). These documents allow a donor to appoint attorneys to make decisions on their behalf should they lose capacity to make their own decisions. They can be made to appoint someone to make decisions about health and welfare as well as property and financial affairs.

In the case of managing financial affairs an LPA can also be used while the donor still has capacity to make their own decisions, making them useful for someone who has mental capacity but maybe still needs a bit of extra support.

General Powers of Attorney (GPAs) are very different. This type of document can only be used by a donor wishing to appoint an attorney to manage their financial affairs and is only valid while the donor has mental capacity. As soon as capacity is lost the GPA is no longer useable and the attorney can’t make any more decisions for the donor.

So why choose a General Power of Attorney right now?

At the moment LPA applications are progressing quite slowly. The Office of the Public Guardian is doing its best to process applications within their target of 40 days, but like many companies right now they are running on reduced staff.

This means that it’s taking longer to get an LPA registered, and if there are any issues with it it’s currently difficult to contact the OPG by phone.

The more pressing issue though are the barriers to getting the LPA completed in the first place. Completing an LPA requires a donor, a certificate provider, at least one attorney, and a witness to witness the donor and all attorney’s signatures.

In an ideal world the certificate provider could act as the witness to all people involved limiting the amount of people who need to be involved in the signing, but even without the current social distancing rules managing to gather the donor and all of their attorneys together is a rare occurrence, with attorneys often living far away from the donor.

For a person who needs someone to make decisions for them right away a GPA can be a great alternative currently. There is no registration requirement, so the document is ready to use as soon as it has been properly signed. There are also less people involved in the creation of a GPA. The only people who need to sign are the donor themselves and a witness. There is no need for a certificate provider, and no need for the attorney to sign.

The GPA is executed as a deed poll by the donor, so the rules on who can act as a witness for them are not strict. The witness must be over 18, have capacity, and can’t themselves be a party to the deed. The attorney isn’t strictly a party to the deed as they aren’t a signatory, but it is still best to avoid them acting as a witness.

What this does mean though is that someone else in the household could act as the witness, allowing the document to be made without placing anyone at any risk.

What this doesn’t mean…

This doesn’t mean that LPAs should be forgotten about altogether. Since a GPA ends if the donor loses capacity it is still best to make sure that steps are being taken to get an LPA put in place as soon as it’s possible to do so.

For further information please contact us at

Avalon Legal

0208 6414441

07506 583669


Review your Will

6th April 2020 saw the start of the new tax year and with it the usual new tax breaks and tax increases.

One of the major breaks for married couples and civil partners is the increase of the Residence Nil rate Band (RNRB) from £150,000.00 to £175,000.00 per person.

This means that the potential transferable rate between married couples and civil partners may be £350,000 in some cases, which could mean that on second death the deceased’s Inheritance Tax threshold increase to £1M before Inheritance Tax becomes payable at 40%.

For example
On the assumption Mr Smith leaves everything to Mrs Smith on first death and then Mrs Smith leaves everything to the children on reaching the age of 21 on second death in their Wills then the following will apply.
Basic Nil Rate Band
Transferred Nil Rate Band
Basic Residence Nil Rate Band Transferred Residence Nil Rate Band
£325,000.00 £325,000.00 £150,000.00 £150,000.00

There are certain criteria attached to the use of the Residence Nil Rate Band including the types of property to include and who are defined as children.

If you would like further advise or a review of your existing Wills please contact us.

Phone: 020 8644 4441
Mobile: 07506 583669
Email: info@avalonlegal.org

Influential women through history-Mary Jane Seacole 1805 – 14 May 1881

Let’s take a look and delve into the history behind another amazing influential woman. Mary Seacole born in Jamaica and was the daughter of James Grant, a Scottish Lieutenant in the British Army.

Mary Seacole

Mary’s mother was a healer and had a vast knowledge of tropical diseases and a Doctors skill at treating illness and injuries.

Mary gained her nursing skills at Blundell Hall in Kingston, Jamaica; and had learned from her mother and the Army Doctors in treating and healing people. Mary was proud of both her Jamaican and Scottish ancestry.

On the 10th November 1836 Mary married Edwin Horatio Hamilton Seacole. They moved to Black River where they opened a provisions store; this failed to make them any money and they returned to Blundell Hall in the early 1840s.

Unfortunately Mary had a difficult time during 1843 and 1844. The family suffered a house fire in which their boarding house was destroyed and in October 1844 Mary’s husband died, followed by her mother. The boarding house was re built and Mary took control and managed the hotel herself. Blundell Hall had many European military visitors and Mary was well known and respected among them.

The Cholera epidemic of 1850, killed 32,000 Jamaican people. Mary had treated people and thought there was a link between the Cholera outbreak and a steamer, that had arrived from New Orleans.

In 1851 Mary took a trip to see her brother in Cruces; shortly after she had arrived the town was struck by cholera. Mary, having seen and managed this disease previously, was able to help care for the people. In fact Mary cared for the first person with Cholera during this outbreak; and they lived; gaining Mary a reputation for being able to heal patients with Cholera.

Mary did not charge the poor for treatment but did charge the rich. Towards the end of the epidemic Mary contracted Cholera and had to rest for a significant period of time.

Mary arrived back in Jamaica in 1853 and soon after her arrival the medical authority asked for her help with the outbreak of yellow fever. Mary reported that there was not much success in treating these sick people and many died.

In 1854 Mary Seacole had read reports in newspapers on the outbreak of war. Mary decided she would travel to England and volunteer as a nurse.

The Crimean War lasted from October 1853 until 1 April 1856 and was fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the United Kingdom, France, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the Ottoman Empire.

Mary’s offer of help to nurse the sick soldiers was repeatedly turned down and in the end she used her own resources to travel to the Crimea and opened the British Hotel in March 1855.

In 1855, William Howard Russell, a correspondent of The Times, wrote that Mary was “a successful doctor” and “cured men”. Mary was always seen in attendance on the battlefield tending to the injured soldiers. Mary’s peers soon discovered that Mary and her knowledge of healing had good success rates.

The war ceased in March 1856 and Mary was as in a difficult financial position. Mary sold what she could and the expensive items were auctioned, fetching lower than value prices; Mary then returned to England.
On returning to England Mary was bankrupt and in poor health; Queen Victoria’s nephew supported her by fund raising on her behalf. The British press highlighted Mary’s plight and a fund was established for people to donate money.

In 1867, due to Mary’s financial needs, the Seacole fund was re-started. The patrons included the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Cambridge, and many other senior military officers. This fund enabled Mary to buy land in Kingston, Jamaica, near New Blundell Hall; where she built a home and a property to rent out.

Mary moved back to London in 1870 and in 1881 Mary died, whilst boarding at a property in Paddington, London.

Mary Seacole Memorial

Mary left an estate valued at more than £2,500. Mary had written a Will, her sister being the main beneficiary, along with some legacies. Mary was buried in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green, London.

Even though Mary Seacole died without owning any property she knew the importance of making a Will, however even in 1881 there was a form of inheritance tax on legacies and gifts of residue, which was dependent on who received the gift.

This legacy tax as it was called ranged from 1% to 10% on anything over £20, which equates to approximately £2500.00 in today’s money.

Mary’s total estate of over £2500.00 in 1881 would be over £306,000.00 in 2020, which if she had died in 2020 meant that there would be no inheritance tax to pay; but in 1881 the duty due would be at best 3% of the estate paid to the Crown.

Inheritance Tax is not an option but by making a Will incorporating estate planning the total amount due to HM Treasury can be limited especially inheritance tax is payable at 40%, in certain circumstances.

For further details please contact us at:

Avalon Legal



© Colin & Karen Wells – May 2020