Protecting a Testator’s Final Wishes

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There’s the age old saying… ‘thank goodness you can choose your friends as you can’t choose your family’. Unfortunately, in some instances, there are members of a family that have done one thing or another that have put them on the list of people another member doesn’t want to benefit from their will.

That said, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 enables certain categories of people to apply to the Court and make a claim against a deceased person’s estate, alleging that the deceased did not make reasonable financial provision for them.

So how can a testator (Ie the person whose estate we are referring to) ensure his or her wishes are protected when excluding someone who might claim under this act?

Letter of Wishes

While it may seem simple, a Letter of Wishes (LoW) that is factual in its nature when explaining why an individual is being excluded will go a long way when it comes to protecting the estate from a claim. This isn’t to say any claim is precluded nor that any claim will fail… but that the likelihood of a claim’s success might be diminished.

When it comes to an exclusion, a LoW ought to be based on sound reasoning and not one where the emotions are the only reason for the exclusion. The reason ought to be factual as it can be though this isn’t to say the letter must be devoid of emotion only that there should be a balance that the logical reasoning has been communicated with regard to how the testator feels about the situation.

While this does not seem to be concrete protection against the estate, if there were such a defence, then the 1975 Act would be far less effective.

When it comes to drafting a LoW for our clients, the specialist team at Swansea Legal Solutions always carry out reasonable due diligence, to ensure the Letter of Wishes should meets the standard mentioned above.

We also write up extensive case notes on how we have handled the case in line with the testators wishes, including noting any concerns we may have and how we addressed these concerns with sufficiently reasonable justification.

Furthermore, as we are a member of the Society of Will Writers, if we have any concerns when it comes the content of a LoW, we are able to consult with the society’s expert, technical team to ensure there are no loopholes which could see the letter being contested.

Click here  or call us today on 01792 420844 to find out more about a Letter of Wishes or other estate planning services which we offer.