Landmark UK court case regarding estate planning
A landmark case in the UK this week has turned the spotlight back onto estate planning, and more specifically how important it is to structure a Will so that it ensures your wishes are followed through.
Making national headlines was the case of Heather Ilott, who was awarded a portion of her mother’s estate at the Court of Appeal, even though the Will in question made no provision for her to inherit anything. The circumstances of the case are complex and fairly unusual, but the precedent set is worthy of consideration. The decision by the courts was as a result of the failing to make ‘reasonable provision’ for the daughter, with the long term impact of the ruling that there could be more scope for disinherited children to challenge a Will. Those drawing up their Wills may also need to consider explaining the reasons why they have chosen to leave a portion of their estate to certain parties and demonstrate a tangible connection for doing so.
Reviewing your Will regularly is a vital part of the financial planning process. Many of our clients have traditionally done this through a family solicitor, or their usual bank. It is worth noting that some banks are withdrawing their estate planning services; with the most recent announcement coming from HSBC which is outsourcing its probate services this Autumn, and asking existing clients to seek a new Executor.
If you need to review your Will, or discuss any aspect of your estate or beneficiaries, please get in touch.