Can your Will be challenged after you’ve gone?
The short answer is Yes.
You may have seen the recent ruling where a mother disinherited her daughter leaving her estate to a number of charities. However, this was overturned by the courts and the daughter was awarded £164k from the estate.Read the full BBC articlehere
What is a dependant?
- Husband or wife of the deceased, including a judicially separated spouse.
- A former spouse of the deceased who has not remarried, unless there is an order made following the divorce barring them from making an application.
- A child of the deceased, including illegitimate, legitimated or adopted children. There is no age bar, although adult children who are able to fend for themselves will find their applications less favourably treated.
- A person treated by the deceased as a child of the family.
- A person maintained by the deceased immediately before the death, either wholly or partly. The person must not have provided valuable consideration e.g. a live-in carer. If the applicant provided services to the deceased the application will not be successful if the services provided outweigh the financial contribution made by the deceased.
- Any person living in the same household as the deceased for 2 years or more prior to when the deceased died.
How can you protect your estate and make sure your wishes are followed through?
There are a number of ways to help reduce the likelihood of a claim being made on your estate.
Don’t leave your estate to charities you’ve had no affiliation with during your lifetime. It could be argued that because you’ve had no affiliation with a particular charity that it’s unfair on your family member(s) that have been excluded that an unknown charity benefits.
Secondly you should ask your Will writer to include an exclusion clause specifically naming the person you wish to disinherit in your Will.
Thirdly, you should write a letter detailing why you have excluded this person and the reason behind the decision to distribute your estate as you have done.
Although there is no guarantee if you have a disgruntled family member who thinks they should have inherited something that they wouldn’t be successful, leaving behind a detailed account as described above will assist your Executor in defending your wishes.
If you would like to discuss disinheriting a family member with one of our legal experts please call us on 0808 281 1545 where a member of our team will be happy to assist.
Managing Director – Redstone Wills