Making sure your Will stands up in Court

When it comes to your Will and who you would like to inherit your estate, your decision is final, right? You might think so, but as has been demonstrated in a number of recent cases this isn’t always the case.

The number of contested Wills in England has doubled in the last few years. In a number of high profile cases claims have been made by spouses, civil partners and children against the estate where an individual believes they are being denied an inheritance they were entitled to.

In one case, due to a 25 year estrangement a mother disinherited her daughter.  At the Court of Appeal the court went against the mothers Will and decided not including the daughter in the Will was unreasonable.  This and other recent cases appear to demonstrate the willingness within the judiciary to interfere in such personal matters and impose their own views on what is right and wrong.

Actions you can take

If you have made a decision to exclude a spouse, child or close relative from your Will you need to take action now. Your options include:

1. Leave the relative something small rather than nothing
2. Express positive reasons for choosing your beneficiaries in a letter accompanying your will
3. Use a discretionary trust so the discretionary trustees can see off potential claims by exercising their powers

If you would like to make sure the wishes expressed in your Will are enacted please call me to arrange a meeting at which we can discuss the options open to you.

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