News

Preventative measures to reduce the risk of potential inheritance disputes

  • July 12, 2017
  • By Hunters Law

Steps that can be taken to try and avoid a successful claim being brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

This article summarises and adds to a previous article on this subject, which can be found here.

Under English law, by making a Will individuals are free to choose who will inherit their estate. However, the court has the power to modify a Will if it is satisfied that it does not make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for certain categories of person, as seen in the recent case of Illott v Mitson and as reported here.

There is no cast iron way to prevent someone making a claim but there are steps that can be taken to try and minimise the chances of an application being successful.

  1. It may be worth the testator attempting a frank conversation about the Will with any potential claimant before it is too late, particularly where they are expecting an inheritance.  Managing expectations in this way will hopefully reduce the risk of a claim.
  1. A carefully drafted ‘letter of wishes’ to the Will, setting out why someone is being excluded from benefit in favour of others, will give the court the opportunity to consider the testator’s reasons for the omission.
  1. To discourage a claim from being brought in the first place, the Will could include a forfeiture (or ‘no contest’) clause, which leaves a small legacy to the potential claimant provided they do not bring a claim against the estate.
  1. The use of a discretionary trust in the Will should also be considered; this may allow the trustees to negotiate a solution with a potential claimant named as a beneficiary, or who could be added as a beneficiary at a later stage, before any claim is brought.

While steps 3 and 4 will result in the potential claimant inheriting something, this could be significantly less than an award following a successful claim to court.

For more information, please contact the partner having responsibility for your affairs or any partner in the Private Client Department.

 

Related News

May 11, 2022
Vanina Wittenburg examines the impact of the pandemic for probates and discusses hope for the future in Taxation
Apr 12, 2022
Vanina Wittenburg examines how the pandemic has affected the probate system and hope for the future in the FTAdviser
Mar 31, 2022
Vanina Wittenburg discusses the importance of wills for young adults in Today’s Wills & Probate
Mar 21, 2022
Vanina Wittenburg comments on the impact of the BVD cutting the funding of will searches, in This is Money
Feb 02, 2022
Vanina Wittenburg is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
Jan 25, 2022
Flora Nelmes discusses the steps involved in insuring an unoccupied property following a death in Lawyer Monthly
Jan 17, 2022
Probate Application Fee Increase
Dec 13, 2021
Flora Nelmes says that clients should review their existing wills and consider IHT opportunities with the RNRB to remain fixed until April 2026 in Accountancy Daily
Dec 01, 2021
Flora Nelmes discusses the opportunities to review existing wills and explore IHT, as the residence nil rate band is to remain frozen until April 2026, in Lawyer Monthly
Oct 28, 2021
Doubling of time limit for payment of CGT on residential property transactions

© Hunters Law LLP 2022 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)