Can the Courts Overturn Your Will?
Are you worried that your will may not be safe?
The recent ruling in the case of Melita Jackson – who disinherited her daughter in favour of several animal charities, only for her wishes to be overruled by the courts – has left many people worried that their own wishes could be similarly disregarded even though they’ve been prudent enough to make (and to regularly review) their will.
In the first instance we would recommend that you contact us for a free consultation with one of our team of legal experts, before making any decisions. But what do you need to know to be ready to discuss your wishes with a solicitor?
Can you demonstrate tangible connections to the people/organisations you wish to leave your money to?
Is the person you are leaving some or all of your estate to someone you have a close relationship with (even if there is no blood tie)? Can you explain in a ‘Letter of Wishes’ attached to your will why and how this person is important to you?
Or in the case of a charity or other organisation, can you demonstrate a connection to that charity prior to your death? Have you been a volunteer, or a regular donor/supporter?
Can you explain why you are disinheriting a close relative?
Similarly, can you give reasons why you are not including someone in a will, even your own child? Is it simply because you disagree with their life decisions, or have they actually treated you badly in some demonstrable way?
Even after the recent ruling, adult relatives who are not living with you or financially dependent on you at the time of your death – and who are not experiencing any financial hardship – will still struggle to prove a claim, but it will be easier for them than previously.
Is your will made properly?
Although in theory a scribbled amendment left in your bedside drawer could be presented as a legal Will if properly witnessed, it’s unlikely to be looked upon by the courts as a legal document that has been produced in a considered manner, with appropriate legal advice. This could make arguing for your wishes more difficult.
This is one of the many reasons it’s important to make a will with proper legal consultation and to review it regularly to take account of the changes that can occur in your and your family’s lives over the years.
For more information get in touch with us at Just Wills and Legal Services on 01342 477102 to book a free consultation.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
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