Drafting a will and even making it can be a critical life-changing moment. It might not be much for you, but for the people, you leave behind a single statement in your Will can either make or break their future.
In drafting for making your will, it is plausible to create exclusions in the distributions of your assets. You may deliberately want to exclude certain people in your will, like let’s say a child or a sibling. Naturally, these people you have omitted in your Will may have expected for provisions. In order to avoid family disputes from happening you need be clear and detailed. State whom of your presumed beneficiaries will not get anything under your will. Give an explanation why you are not giving them anything.
“I give to my daughter the sum of one dollar.”
The statement above will not only cause confusion but also hurt in the part of the said daughter. Avoid making statements such as the one given to prevent conflict and disagreements from happening during the reading of your will. The worst thing that could happen is one of your beneficiaries taking your will to probate court and contesting it. To stop this from occurring write a statement like this instead.
“As I have in my lifetime already made sufficient and reasonable provision for my daughter Margaret (let’s just say that is your daughter’s name), all of my estate and the residue is to benefit my other children.”
By explaining why you are excluding them from the will, you close all doors for debate and any possible opposition. It is important to note though that your reasons for exclusion have to be logical and believable. Otherwise, your beneficiaries can challenge it in probate court.
Here are possible reasons why you choose to exclude a beneficiary from your will.
- Have given sufficient provisions – like the example above, you might have given a lot of things to your child during the course of your life.
- The desire to make them self-sufficient. It’s turning into a fad nowadays for high net worth individuals to give no inheritance to their children. The reason for this is they want their children to strive on their own and learn the value of working hard. Here’s an example of an exclusion made due to this reason.
“My small bequest to my son John is not a reflection or a lack of my love for him. On the contrary, I have all the confidence and belief that he will make full use of his capability to make a rewarding career for himself and to accomplish success in his life on his own standing and merits.”
- Lack of affection and attachment – now not all reasons for excluding someone from your will is positive, sometimes they can be due to lack of affection and attachment to that beneficiary. Take the case below as an example. The testator amended is will to include the following clause.
“I DECLARE that I make no provision for my wife because soon after the marriage, I have lived separate and apart from my wife.”
It was reported that one lady called “Ah Phee” had attempted to contact the testator and asked for his home address. She claimed to have entered into a customary Chinese marriage with the testator some 50 years ago although they lived apart after the wedding ceremony
An unfilial son or a relative with whom you have a dispute with may also be excluded from your will, provided that you state the reason for doing so explicitly.
Putting exclusions in a will does not make valid wills invalid since a Will, after all, is just a document stating a testator’s intention for his estate. Privileged wills may also have exclusions. Just remember in drafting a will you still have to refer to the Wills Act for clarification in case you have questions or confusions. Looking up a will template also gives you an idea of how your will should be structured. Consult a legal entity if you have clarifications while drafting a will that is your key to making sure your wishes are honoured after you die.
Haven’t drafted your Will yet? Give us a call or send us a message we’ll be happy to guide you through the Will making process.