Making a Will? The default position Is that you can benefit whoever you wish

Posted on March 27, 2018

The validity of wills is sometimes subject to legal challenge, but the default position is that everyone is allowed to leave their worldly goods to whoever they wish. A judge made that point in giving effect to the wishes of a strong-minded pensioner who bequeathed everything she had to one son, cutting out the other two.

Five years before her death, aged 88, the woman executed a will by which she made her middle son her sole heir. She had previously put the family home, worth about £350,000, into their joint names, with the result that he automatically inherited the entire property on her death.

In a letter written five years before she died, she explained her wish to reward her middle son for the assistance he had given her during her final years. She wrote that her youngest son was in no need of her bounty, being economically independent, and that she rarely saw her eldest son, who she could not rely on to help her.

In dismissing the eldest son's challenge to her will and the lifetime gift of her home to his brother, the judge found that there was no evidence that his brother had brought undue influence to bear upon their mother. The pensioner knew her own mind when she reached the rational decision to benefit her middle son alone. He was very close to her and had sacrificed his hairdressing business in order to move in with her and care for her when she experienced ill health in later life.

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