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Making A Will

I am considering changing my Will to leave more to my son in recognition of the significant support he has given to me since my husband died, but I am worried that my daughter will be upset about this.  Am I being fair?

You can make whatever provision you wish for your family by your Will.  Only you can decide what you consider is fair.  However, if you think your daughter might be upset by the terms of your new Will there are some simple steps you can take now.  First, you would be wise to have your Will professionally prepared so that you can be sure it’s terms reflects your wishes.  Secondly, you might like to consider obtaining a report from your doctor confirming your capacity to make your Will; your solicitor will organise this for you.  Thirdly, you can write a short note to put with your Will explaining why you have made the choices you have.

My mother has died recently and I have discovered that she has only left me a small legacy in her Will and everything else to charity.  Can I contest her Will?

It is sometimes possible to challenge the terms of a Will; for example if there is some doubt about whether the Will Maker was mentally capable at the time of signing their Will, or that they were unduly pressured into making it.  If you successfully challenge your mother’s Will on either of these grounds then it would be set aside.

Alternatively, if it appears that your mother’s Will is valid but you are disappointed by its terms, as an adult child you can consider making a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 arguing that the terms of the Will do not make reasonable financial provision for you; this is such provision as it would be reasonable for you to receive for your maintenance.  When the court considers whether the Will provides you with reasonable financial provision there are a number of matters which it must consider including your financial needs and resources.

This area of law is complex and in the case of a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, there are time limits for making a claim.  You should therefore seek legal advice at an early stage, and your solicitor will also be able to advise you on alternatives to litigation and the likely cost of challenging the Will.

I have recently remarried.  My new wife and I have purchased a house together.  We both have grown up children from our previous marriages.  I am worried about making sure that my new wife will be secure if I die before her, but I would like to know that my children will inherit from me in due course.  Should I leave everything to my wife and trust that she and my children will be able to work things out after my death?

This is a common concern on remarriage, and will depend upon the sensitive issue of how far you trust your new wife to make sure your children are provided for from her Estate after her death.

If you leave everything to your wife, she can do whatever she likes with your assets after your death; she could choose to leave her Estate to her own family or a new partner, leaving out your children.

You would be best advised to make a new Will to avoid a dispute after your death.  You can discuss with your solicitor your options for providing for your new wife after your death, but ensuring that on her death your children receive an inheritance.  There are ways of achieving this such as a Will including a life interest.

My children have never got on and I am worried about a family dispute over my Estate after my death.  Is there anything I can do to avoid this?

Many people handle the Administration of a loved one’s Estate smoothly, but a death can revive old resentments.  If your Will takes everyone by surprise there could be confusion and arguments.  However, if your family knows broadly how you plan to leave your property, and understand your reasoning they may respect your choices.  Even if they don’t, they will have time to get used to them.  If after your death, your children do end up squabbling over your Estate they can consider mediation to try and resolve their differences and avoid going to court.

If you would like assistance in making a Will please contact us.