Clients should all be aware that if someone is excluded from their Will that such a person may make a claim against the Estate and that this can lead to chosen beneficiaries being left less than was intended by the Testator. The class of persons who are able to contest a Will is not limited to relatives or close family but can include a variety of other dependents. For this reason, we would always recommend that clients receive proper advice and guidance if they think a claim might be made against their Estate (or even if they are not under this impression, as there may be people eligible to claim that the client is not aware of).
We provide an Exclusion Service, where we will prepare a legally drafted Letter of Wishes that can be read out in Court should such a claim be made against the Estate. This involves careful consultation with the client to ensure that the chances of success of any claim are minimised. The Exclusion Service also involves the drafting of a clause within the Will, which specifies that a particular person has been Excluded from the Will and makes reference to the aforementioned Exclusion Letter. We are also able to provide this services in cases where it might be argued that insufficient provision was made for a particular beneficiary, which can also lead to a claim.
As a final point, it is worth noting that it is not possible to prevent a claim from being made entirely but our service provides a robust defence against any such claim. In cases where Testators feel a claim is likely, we always recommend that Goodwills is appointed as Professional Executors, as we have the legal expertise and knowledge necessary to help safeguard the Estate against such a claim should this actually materialise after the Testator’s death.