that when you make your Will you must make a reasonable provision for family members?
Yes in England and Wales you must make reasonable provision for your children and other close family members.
The law says that you can’t cut your children out of your Will. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, you must make reasonable provision for your children. If you don’t any child can apply to the Court for an award.
So what is “reasonable”? No-ones knows. It all depends on the circumstances. If you try to cut a child out of a Will there are 4 possible outcomes.
Firstly the child might respect your wishes and make no claim. I wouldn’t rely on that.
Secondly the child might claim and be unsuccessful. However this causes great disharmony within the family. It can also involve a long expensive Court process.
Thirdly the child might claim and succeed. This will also involve delay and cost but more than that it goes against your wishes and it may even be bad for the child.
Fourthly and this is the worst, the child might initiate a claim but not pursue it through the Court. This means that the “reasonable amount” must be frozen until it is decided and there is no time limit for the child pursuing the claim. So in effect a large share of the estate could be frozen indefinitely.
However McClure’s have a solution. You can protect your assets in a Trust. If you survive 6 years after putting the assets in the Trust then any claim under the Act is time barred. And even if you don’t survive the 6 year period, the fact that the assets are in a Trust will make it much more difficult (and therefore much less likely) that a child will pursue a claim.
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