We have recently helped clients whose late Mother had made a Will however had not gifted in equal shares to her children. The Will provided a payment of £1,000 to adult child 1 and the residue of the Estate (the remainder of the net Estate) was to be split between adult children 2 and 3. We were instructed by children 2 and 3 as they were the Executors of the Estate under the Will.
The Will had been drafted by a Solicitor which meant that a full file of papers was available for inspection to see why the decision had been made by the deceased to not give child 1 an equal share of the Estate. It was clear that the relationship had broken down between child 1 and the deceased and that during her life time she felt that she had given a lot of monetary gifts to child 1 and that he should not benefit any further from the Estate, other than the payment of £1,000.
The rule when making a Will of course is that the maker of the Will can decide to gift their Estate to whom ever they wish. When a Solicitor helps you to write a Will advice will be given about any potential claims that could be made and how to avoid them.
Claims can however be advanced by certain categories of potential beneficiaries should they feel that they should have been given reasonable financial provision. That being said, not all of these claims will be successful.
A letter of claim was received by our clients in this case however due to the extensive papers available surrounding the making of the Will, the claim was successfully disputed without the need for Court proceedings.
The best advice we can give when considering making a Will is to take advice from a Solicitor about your options and ensure that a reputable Solicitor carries out the work so that a full file of papers is kept as a record of what was discussed and why you came to the decision you did. This is usually peace of mind for you and can act as closure for anyone who tries to bring a claim against your Estate after you have gone as they are fully aware of the reasons for your decision.