Where there’s a will……
Drawing up a will isn’t something that anyone really wants to have to think about if we’re honest but it is such an important thing to do that we shouldn’t ignore it! Have a think about who you would like to receive your estate when you die, and on the flip side, who you would NOT like to receive anything. Without a will in place, those relatives whom you’ve never really been that fond of, might end up with a sizable chunk of your assets. So what sort of things should you think about when deciding what to include in your will?
Food for thought:
- Who do you want to be your executor(s? These are the people that will administer your estate and carry out your wishes according to what your will says;
- Who do you want to leave your estate to? This could be your spouse, children, other family members, a friend or a charity;
- Is there a specific item you wish to be left to someone special? This could be a piece of jewellery or artwork.
You can divide your estate in any way that you wish and leave it to whomever you wish. However, you do have to bear in mind that dependants who have been left out of a will or who have been left little from your estate can make a claim. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 a person can claim that your will failed to make reasonable provision for them.
The issue of adult children and dependants claiming against a deceased parent’s will was highlighted in the recent Supreme Court case of Ilott (Respondent) v The Blue Cross and others (Appellants)  UKSC 17. In that case a woman brought proceedings against her estranged mother’s estate after she was left out of the will. The deceased left an estate of £486,000 to a number of charities being RSPCA, RSPB and the Blue Cross and wrote a letter instructing her executors to fight any claim made by her estranged daughter. The daughter brought a claim under the legislation stating that her mother had not made reasonable provision for her .The daughter had been awarded £50,000 by the District Judge and later £163,000 by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court upheld the figure of £50,000 stating that the District Judge had not made errors of principle in his approach.
Whilst the estranged daughter eventually did inherit, despite the mother’s wishes, she inherited only a small percentage of the estate. This gives reassurance to people that what they write in their will, in most cases, will be respected. One might say that “testamentary freedom” is very much still alive!
If you have not made a will and would like to discuss the process please contact our specialise wills and probate department on 02890 email@example.com or search “MTB Solicitors” for further contact information. It really is a very straightforward process and our clients tell us that once they have one drawn up it’s a real weight off their shoulders!