Although sizeable to many people, Lady Lucan’s estate was worth in the region of £575,000 when she died last year, which was admittedly less than I was expecting.
Lady Lucan was survived by her three children, but none of them were named as beneficiaries under the terms of her Will. She alleged that she had not had a relationship with any of her children in over 35 years. In her Will, Lady Lucan stated the following:
'In view of the lack of good manners and reverence shown to me as their parent, I do not wish any of my three children to benefit from my death any more than they have to’.
Instead, Lady Lucan’s entire estate was left to the charity Shelter.
The exclusion of people from Wills is very common, as is the limiting of a gift to a certain person or people. Sometimes family members lose contact over years, some are estranged for various reasons, and some people making their Will simply wish to benefit a completely different cause than their families would perhaps expect. Whatever the reason, a person is free to do as they wish in their Will.
If you are thinking of making limited or no provision for a certain person or people in your Will, it is important that appropriate legal advice is sought. Although your Will can say whatever you would like it to, there are often consequences to leaving people out. Wills can be challenged and claims can be made against the estate for financial provision, which can be very costly to the estate.
Although Courts have the discretion to decide whether or not a claim against an estate is successful, there are ‘damage limitation’ steps which can be taken when setting up your Will. The Private Client team at Neves would be able to ensure that risk of a successful claim is limited as far as possible, although a claim can never be prevented.
If any of the above strikes a chord, feel free to get in touch with any initial questions. We are always happy to help.