Today was the first memorial service to mark the death of Prince Philip. So much can happen to a family in a year! Even the Royal family have deaths, marriages, divorces, scandal, fall outs and estranged family members, so remember, if any of these apply to you, these things happen to all of us!!
Last September I reported how every will made in the UK is a private document until after a Grant of Representation has been issued by the Probate Registry. This is unlike Prince Philip's will which has been sealed for 90 years. Only when this time has passed can a conversation take place about whether it is appropriate to release the terms of his will into the public domain.
Should Prince Philip have been minded to detail his inner most thoughts about his family in his will, to document why they may not have been included as beneficiaries, any scandal or character assassination would remain carefully protected for years to come. What an interesting lawyer / client conversation that would have been! It is likely that by the time his will is considered suitable for the public domain those who would have been most affected by any negative comments would have died. This is not so however for the ordinary man on the street.
If you are not minded to include a family member as a beneficiary of your will this is entirely up to you. After all, it's your will! Just be wary of providing detail in your will as to why they are not included. Whatever is written in your will becomes public record once the Grant of Representation has been issued. This means that the person you have eloquently disinherited will be a party to everything written, and, even worse, will be aware of what was written even if things have changed and rifts have been healed.
A good lawyer, such as that which Prince Philip would have had, would advise that It is much safer to write a separate letter to your executor documenting why you have made the decisions you have as this letter remains private between you and your executor. Should your estranged family member choose to challenge your will the letter can be produced to the Court as evidence of your wishes, if necessary. In this letter you can provide as much detail as you wish, evidence situations and examples of behaviour. attach documents which support the decision you have made and keep it safely with your will.
It is our job at Argo to make sure that you have the emotional support you need when making a will because many people find it a very difficult exercise to complete. It is also our job to ensure that those you leave behind are not subjected to any catastrophic fall out as a result of what was said at a time of emotion. You can rely on us to keep the level head!
If you have been putting off making a will for this exact reason put it off no more! Not having a will is worse than putting your thoughts on paper, even if it is difficult for you to do. If you want to discuss how disinheriting a family member could impact upon your will take advantage of our FREE 15 minute first aid phone call to put your mind at rest.
Give the team a call on 01622 843729 for reassurance and peace of mind.