Excluding Someone in Your Will
There is often an expectation that certain people will inherit all or some of your estate when you pass away. However, you may not wish this to happen and instead you might wish to exclude someone so that your estate passes elsewhere. There are many reasons why a deliberate exclusion would be used. It could be that your children do not require any further wealth and have requested to be left out of the Will or it could be because you have a difficult relationship with your child, meaning that you do not want them to receive your estate.
Should I include a specific Exclusion in my Will?
Yes, your Will should contain a deliberate exclusion, whereby you name the person that will not be inheriting. This will include giving their full name and the relationship you have with them. You should also state that this person should not receive any of your estate. This shows that their exclusion is deliberate and they haven’t been omitted by mistake.
Along with this, you should also create a letter of wishes that is separate to the Will and provides reasons why you have excluded the person from your Will. The letter should be signed and dated by you and then stored with the Will. However, the letter should not be attached to the Will because it will then remain confidential to your executors.
The letter will help to justify the reasons for the exclusion should the disappointed beneficiary wish to challenge your decision when you are no longer around to provide an explanation.
Why is it important to do this?
Once someone passes away, if they have left a Will, there is every possibility it could be challenged. If a deliberate exclusion is not included it could be claimed, by virtue of that person’s relationship with you, that the beneficiary has been omitted by mistake or that you lacked the capacity and understanding required to make the Will because you wouldn’t have intentionally failed to name them.
Previous cases have also shown that a claim by a disappointed beneficiary can still be successful where there is a deliberate exclusion if the beneficiaries who are chosen instead do not have a close relationship with you. Your letter of wishes should explain why you have chosen your beneficiaries over the person you are excluding.
It is vital that you seek professional help if you are excluding someone from your Will. It might seem relatively easy to add a deliberate exclusion, but it has to be done in the correct way, with a supportive letter of wishes, to ensure that your choices are protected in the event of a claim.