By Neville Pereira, Lubbock Fine Wealth Management LLP
In a recent Court of Appeal ruling, a woman cut out of her mother’s will has been awarded a third of her estate - £164,000. The mother was deemed to have acted in an “unreasonable, capricious and harsh” manner. It is also reasonable to assume that the deceased father’s wishes were taken into account by the judge.
The ruling could prove to affect people’s right to leave money to whom they want. Despite the mother in this case making it very clear (by means of a letter accompanying the will) that she did not wish her daughter to inherit, the court took a different view on the basis that her mother hadn’t left “reasonable provision” for her in the will.
This case demonstrates the need to take the right advice at the outset when making a will. Not only does the will need to be correctly drawn up but a great deal of thought should go into who you wish to benefit and how your estate is to be inherited. In an ideal world, we will all live long and healthy lives but that is not always the case.
A valid will comes into force when a person dies. It ensures that their assets are divided in accordance with their wishes. If there is no will, the estate will be divided in accordance with the intestacy rules which are a complex set of rules enshrined in legislation and may involve a distribution to people you don’t even like. In cases of intestacy, there is no legal scope to challenge the terms of the will.
In drafting a will, and depending on the size of the estate, there are many matters to consider including the beneficiaries, the establishment of trusts, pecuniary legacies, the appointment of guardians and inheritance tax planning to name but a few.
It is also vital to take financial advice as it is now possible to leave your pension to your beneficiaries outside of your estate, meaning that there will be no inheritance tax for them to pay. There are many other considerations that could make the difference between the bulk of your estate going to your beneficiaries rather than to the Treasury.
As well as the case above, there are a plethora of other cases going through the UK courts at the moment. For more detail on these, please see the BBC website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/new/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-33684937.
If you would like to talk to us about making a will, please email me or call on 020 7490 7766. After we’ve discussed the best and most tax efficient way for your beneficiaries to inherit, we can refer you to solicitors best placed to write you a water-tight will.
Will writing is not part of the Financial Limited offering and is offered in our own right. Financial Limited accept no responsibility for this aspect of our business. Will writing is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.