Can You Disinherit Your Children?

You might have heard about the case of Heather Ilot, who was awarded £164,000 from her mother’s estate after a decade of court battles even though the mother had written her out of her Will. There was much debate about this case in the news in July 2015 when the final decision was made that this could be the end of testamentary freedom, i.e. the freedom to choose who your money goes to after your death. This is not the case. In this specific case, there were particular circumstances that led to the money being awarded to the daughter by
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Getting Married? What Happens to Your Will? – The “In Contemplation of Marriage” Clause

You have made your Will and have decided how much each of your children will receive in the event of your death and have also favourably considered a few friends and some charitable causes. And then you decide to get remarried. What happens to your Will? The general rule is, that when you get married your Will becomes invalid. This means that should you die you are intestate, i.e. without a Will and only the rules set out by the government will apply to your estate. These rules are very strict and will only pass your assets on to blood
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Charles Dickens’ Will and Funeral Plan – His Final Plot

Death is said to be the great leveller – even when it comes to the paperwork. The private life of Charles Dickens would have made the perfect plot for one of his own stories. His novels made him famous around the world, and he created some of the greatest characters of all time – including one of the most familiar fictional Christmas characters – Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens died aged 58 in 1869, a very wealthy man – his estate worth the equivalent of £50 million pounds today. He left money to all 9 of his surviving children. He then writes
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What if a Beneficiary Doesn’t Want His Share? – Consider a Post Death Variation of a Will

If you have ever wondered whether you have to accept something that has been left to you in a Will, the answer is no, you don’t. You can use a tool call a Deed of Variation. A variation can be used to pass on property, cash, stocks/shares or a beneficial interest in a trust. A Deed of Variation is a document that is set up by a beneficiary if they want to pass on their share of the inheritance to someone else. This can either be another named party in the Will, or someone completely different. There are different reasons
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What happens to your business when you’re gone? – Business Succession Planning

At the beginning of 2015 there were an estimated 5.3 million small or medium sized businesses in the UK. It is therefore very important that business owners create an effective Business Succession Plan to protect their business and decide what happens to their business in the event of their death or should they no longer be able to manage their own affairs. Business Wills For business owners a simple Will is probably not sufficient. In that case, a more comprehensive Business Will is more appropriate in dealing with their specific business assets. A business owner may wish to appoint separate
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What Happens When You Die Without a Will

Dying without a Will, also known as intestacy, can be a difficult and costly process. Your Will is a legally binding document and making a Will ensures that you control where your assets go when you die. Without a Will, the courts have to be involved and this is lengthy as well as costly. The Society of Will Writers, of which I am a member have put together this useful flowchart which illustrates very clearly what happens in the event of a person dying without a Will. ˇ The term “children” includes illegitimate and adopted children, but not step-children. °
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Bizarre Requests from Beyond the Grave

Most of us want to leave our assets to our children and other loved ones and in most cases these consist of a house (with contents), some money, maybe some jewellery, pictures or works of art. But there are some people who take “leaving things to your loved ones” to a whole new level. Here is a selection of some of the strangest bequests I have come across while doing some research on the topic. Marie Curie – When she died in 1934, a gram of pure radium, originally received as a gift from the women of America, was her
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Who will raise your children if you die before they are 18?

Have you ever considered who will look after your children if you die while they’re still under age? Who will make sure they are raised the way you would wish and only has their best interests at heart? Many people don’t want to think about these issues as they are considered morbid and negative thinking. But it is really important to be prepared should the worst happen. It is not enough to simply make the decision and discuss it with your family. You need to make it legally binding by including it in your Will. Should you die without a
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My Top 10 Reasons Why You Need a Will

Do you have a valid Will? If the answer is yes, congratulations, you are among only 33% of adults in the UK who do. If you answered no, you are unfortunately among the majority of people who haven’t made plans for what happens to their assets when they die. Having a Will is not a luxury. It provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Here are my top 10 reasons why you need a Will (plus an extra 2 for free!) It is the only way to ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes
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The Importance of Using a Professional to Make Your Will

A friend of a friend has recently died – naming my friend as an executor. The deceased has been ill for 3-4 years, and on advice of their friends had made a Will in 2009, and had asked 2 people if they would be happy to act as executors, to which they both agreed.  Over the years, he told many of his friends that this Will existed, and where he kept it.  He also told them that he had made certain “provisions” for them in the Will. Knowing that his time was almost up, he had been getting his affairs
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