Not only is it important to have a will, it is essential that your will is reviewed as and when your circumstances change.
In August this year the High Court heard a case concerning the estate of Mrs Campbell, a widow, who died in October 2015. Mrs Campbell left the majority of her estate to her son and a legacy of £5,000 to her partner Mr Banfield with who she had cohabited for a number of years. By the time Mrs Campbell died, Mr Campbell was 63 and partially disabled.
Had the terms of the will been adhered to, Mrs Campbell’s son would have sold the house and Mr Banfield would have been homeless. Mr Banfield therefore made a claim against the estate to provide for his housing needs.
The court awarded Mr Banfield a life interest in half the sale proceeds of the property. This was to provide sufficient funds for Mr Banfield to purchase a property to live in. In addition a sum of £20,000 was set aside in case the house bought by Mr Banfield had to be adapted for his needs.
The claim was made under the Inheritance (provision for family and dependants )Act 1975. In England and Wales it is possible to leave your estate to whoever you want. However, individuals who are covered by the Act, and this includes someone who has cohabited with the deceased for a period of at least two years before death, can make a claim against the estate if they believe reasonable provision has not been made for them.
It is important therefore to review your will periodically, as your circumstances change, to ensure it still fulfils your wishes,. It also enables you to take expert legal advice to ensure you have made adequate provision to prevent any claims against your estate being successful.
Author: Katy Burgin
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