Making a Will - Who Can I Leave My Estate to?
Making a Will lets you control how you want your money, property and possessions to be dealt with when you die. It gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your Estate will be managed exactly as you wish following your death.
The law in England and Wales places no restrictions on who you can leave your Estate to. You can you leave your assets to any beneficiary and the categories tend to be:
- Partners or spouses
- Children and other family members
- Friends and colleagues
- Institutions including charities or political organisations
While you have a great deal of freedom to choose your beneficiaries, we must stress that the law does allow certain categories of people to contest a Will including former spouses, children and dependents. So if, for example, a spouse or grown-up child feels they have been unfairly left out of your Will, they would be within their rights to challenge the Will.
There have been many cases where people have left Estates to their chosen charities and completely excluded their children because they were estranged. But even in cases of this nature, where the relationship between the litigant and the deceased had completely broke down, Courts can be sympathetic and award them money from the Estate.
It’s a reminder to anyone making a Will that if they want to leave a particular person out of the Will, somebody who might reasonably expect to inherit some of your Estate, it’s worth including a full explanation of your reasons; when you make a Will.
By outlining your thought processes clearly, it could be much more difficult for anyone to challenge your Will, and you can feel confident that your last wishes will be carried out exactly as you specified.
Telling your family in advance that you plan to leave out certain people in your Will can also be a good idea in some cases. By revealing your intentions before you die, the people affected will have the opportunity to talk about it with you.
This approach can save them from the cost and upset of trying to contest your Will later on, and increases the chances of your Will being executed as per your instructions.
If you are unsure about any aspect of writing a Will and want to make it less susceptible to a challenge at a later date, it is well worth consulting our Wills and Trusts Solicitors for initial legal advice.
Our Solicitors have a wealth of experience in drafting Wills and will always let you express your wishes before advising you on the requirements of a Will. That means we can fully appreciate your intentions and ensure your Will promotes your best interests.
For free legal advice call our Wills & Trusts Solicitors
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