At the time of drafting your Will you are entitled to leave your Estate to anyone you wish. You do not have to leave it to certain family members. Remember if you do not leave a Will then your Estate will be divided in accordance with the English laws of inheritance. This may mean that family members you did not want to leave any of your property to stand to inherit your Estate. It may mean that your nearest and dearest, just because they are not close blood relatives, do not receive anything.
You are entitled to exclude your children from your Will. However, be aware that if your Will is not clearly drafted then after your death your estate could face a claim against the Inheritance Provisions Financial Dependency Act 1975 (IPFDA 1975). There are a number of reasons why you may leave your children out of your will. One of the most common reasons is because you have fallen out with your children.
The IPFDA 1975 will provide reasonable provision of the estate for the maintenance of the family and the children i.e. dependants who have not been reasonably provided for when someone has passed away.
The courts are robust and strict. They rely on a number of key factors to help them ascertain a good reason why the children are excluded from the Will and whether or not they should be entitled to a bequest. It is incumbent upon you to ensure you have acted reasonable when you make your Will.
You need to make sure you have a good reason for the distribution of your estate. You also need to ensure that you have acted reasonably in your decision to exclude your children from your Will. The added consequence should you wish to exclude your children from your Will, may mean that it could result in your Will being partly disregarded. However, it can be much worse if you have no Will at all. It goes without saying, if you do not have a Will then you have no right on how your estate will be distributed.
We would suggest making it clear in the Will or accompanying document the reason for excluding your children out of the Will to stop any issues arising later.
Our Private Client Team can provide guidance on how best to draft your Will. Please contact us today for an initial appointment. We can provide an express 48 hour service for the provision of Wills.