Is blood really thicker than water? Who will you leave your legacy to?
Jan 12, 2018
Husbands, wives, children and grandchildren. These are the traditional beneficiaries of property, money and other assets on the death of loved ones.
But while many people who are planning for the future focus their efforts on ensuring that these family members stand to inherit as much as possible, that will not be everyone’s priority. In fact, attention is sometimes placed elsewhere – on friends, charities, or purely on excluding certain people from a Will.
There is nothing to prevent any one of us from expressing a wish that some or all of our assets be transferred to the local dogs’ home, to a cancer charity, or to an acquaintance unknown to our family. The starting point when drawing up a Will is that it is for the Will-maker (the ‘testator’) to decide how they want their estate to be distributed after they have died. But it’s subject to one big consideration: if you don’t provide sufficiently for someone who is financially dependent on you, it’s quite possible that your Will may be challenged, and a court may decide that your wishes should not be carried through.
The point is that, while there is considerable freedom to decide what to do with your money, property and possessions, this must all be given serious consideration. A family rift, for example, might cause you to re-think your plans with regards to who should get what. But to deprive a family member from inheritance is a big step to take – and it should always be talked through with your solicitor first.
When clients are thinking of taking the less conventional approach of directing their assets away from those family members who would be expecting to receive them, we always advise caution and reflection. Not only is there the possibility of the Will being challenged later on, but with that comes the risk of further division in the family. It’s something to take into account, and we’ll help you work through it.
We’ll also help put the best mechanisms in place if you are sure about your intention to exclude certain people from your Will. While there can be no guarantee that a challenge will not happen, having good evidence (a) of your reasons for designing your Will in the way that you did, and (b) that you were of sound mind when you made the Will, should go some way towards helping ensure that your wishes can be carried out.
To talk through making or changing your Will, contact our dedicated Private Client Department today on 01264 353411, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the no obligation enquiry form on our website and we will be happy to discuss this with you.
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