Contrary to what you may have been told there are actually very few people who could make a claim on your estate when you die.
They are, your husband, wife or civil partner, your children or someone who has been financially dependent on you in the two years prior to your death. If you don’t want one of these people to inherit you can do something about it by putting a non- provision clause in your Will.
Families have all sorts of disagreements and I’m often approached about writing a Will for someone who wants to make sure that a certain person is excluded from ever being able to inherit from them. Deciding to make this decision can often be very emotional, but I find that once a Will is signed with a non- provision clause in it, my clients tend to feel relieved that they’ve taken control of the situation. I often encourage a letter of wishes to accompany your Will explaining your reasons for exclusion.
Sometimes I have clients who will leave a conditional gift as they don’t want to fully exclude someone but equally they don’t feel that they want them to inherit on the same level as other people. In this scenario a client may for example leave £5000 to their son on the proviso that they don’t contest any other aspect of the Will and if they do then this gift fails which would leave them fighting the estate for more than they were allocated. In the majority of cases most people would be advised not to contest a Will in this scenario.
Family rows aside, sometimes it’s prudent not to leave a gift for certain people or to leave a gift using a trust. The reason I say this is if you have a child who is vulnerable and in receipt of benefits, inheriting a large amount of money may actually cause more harm than good, resulting in their benefits being stopped- not the intended result. A way around this is to use a vulnerable persons trust which means that their inheritance cannot be taken into account when assessing their need for benefits. With clear instructions to your trustees, any inheritance can still be used to greatly enhance that person’s life as intended by you.
If you have any questions regarding any of the issues I have highlighted, please get in touch with me either on 01903 821010 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. If there are any subjects you would like me to write about, please send me an email and I’ll see what I can do!