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  • Writer's pictureWayne Barnett FCA | MIPW | STEP Affiliate

Strategically Excluding an Individual from Your Will

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Creating a Will is an essential aspect of estate planning, enabling individuals to dictate how their assets will be distributed after their passing. While the process involves distributing one's belongings among loved ones, it may also require the careful consideration of excluding specific individuals from inheritance. The decision to exclude someone from your Will can be complex and emotionally charged, often involving legal, ethical, and family considerations. This article aims to provide guidance to people on the efficient and legal methods for excluding someone from their Will while ensuring transparency, fairness, and compliance with law.


Legal Grounds for Exclusion


Testamentary Freedom

Individuals generally have the right to dispose of their assets as they wish, unless they are domiciled in a country where a forced heirship regime is in place, such as Cyprus. This principle of testamentary freedom grants you the authority to exclude anyone, including family members, from your Will.


Family Provision Claims

While testamentary freedom exists, English law also permits certain individuals to challenge a Will if they believe they were unfairly excluded. This is usually under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which allows spouses, children, and other dependants to make claims for "reasonable financial provision".


Efficient Exclusion Methods


Clear Communication

If you intend to exclude someone from your Will, we highly recommend explaining your reasons in a separate letter. While this letter may not be legally binding, it can provide context to your decisions and potentially discourage future legal challenges.


Professional Legal Assistance

We at Maplebrook Services Ltd specialise in Wills and Estate Planning. We can provide expert advice on how to structure your Will, ensuring it is clear, comprehensive, and less susceptible to legal challenges.


Inclusion of a Deliberate Exclusion Clause

Including a Deliberate Exclusion clause in your Will can discourage potential beneficiaries from challenging your decisions.


Gifts and Trusts

Instead of completely excluding someone, you might consider making smaller gifts or establishing trusts for them. This can help reduce the likelihood of a successful challenge while maintaining some provision for the individual.


Regular Will Reviews

Life circumstances change, and individuals may eventually reconcile or change their feelings towards estranged family members. Regularly reviewing and updating your Will can help ensure it accurately reflects your intentions.


Legal and Ethical Considerations


Seek Professional Advice

Excluding someone from your Will should be done with careful consideration of potential legal and ethical implications. We can help you navigate these complexities and ensure your decisions align with your intentions and the law.


Transparency

While you're not legally required to disclose your reasons for exclusion, being transparent can help prevent misunderstandings and potential family disputes.


Efficiently excluding someone from your Will requires thoughtful planning, expertise and an understanding of your rights and obligations. If you require any further details, or need help excluding someone from your Will, consult with a qualified Will Writer at Maplebrook Services Ltd today by contacting the office on +357 26600780 or by emailing info@maplebrookservices.com.

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