It is important to understand what happens when an estate is administered by the executors. People you know and third parties you don't might make a claim on your estate, which may need to be defended, which can be expensive and time consuming. It might be the case that you own a business, which might not be able to continue to run, as the assets get tied up. There might be a disaster, where all the intended beneficiaries die before you do, or at the same time.
There are Will clauses we use on a regular basis to ensure that we can deal with the unexpected (or the expected in some cases) Some of these are explained below:
Excluded Beneficiary Clause
This clause is used when a beneficiary that might expect to inherit will receive less than others, or be excluded completely. For example, you might have two children, but want to leave a lot more to one than the other, although there are many situations that this might apply to.
If the person who receives a reduced inheritance or no inheritance decides to challenge the Will, then the exclusion clause provides your defense from beyond the grave. They may say you have forgotten to include them, others who have inherited might have twisted your arm into excluding them or you might not have been of sound mind at the time the Will was made.
An exclusion clause and a letter outlining why they were excluded can provide a great defense in this scenario. In many cases, it saves thousands in solicitor costs, and stops the administration of the Will being held up for what might be years.
It doesn't guarantee that the challenge will not be successful, but it is far less likely compared to not having this clause at all.
Business Continuation Clause
If you run a business, have you thought what might happen to it if you were to die? Will important aspects of the business get tied up whilst the estate is being administered? Would the value of the business diminish, or might it lose its reputation or even fail should the business not be able to run properly.
In simple terms, the Business Continuation Clause allows you to appoint someone to run the business. They will be able to make decisions, access bank accounts and deal with third parties whilst your estate is being administered. It might take over six months for everything to settle, so it may be critical for you to appoint someone to run the business during this time.
Total Calamity Clause
This clause is beneficial for those making a Will where the beneficiaries might all die at the same time. For example a young family in a car accident. It is rare and doesn't bare thinking about in too much detail, but should this happen, the Total Calamity Clause can ensure that the estate goes to who you want, not who the law determines, which is unlikely to be the same.
If your beneficiaries are unable to inherit, and they have no dependents of their own, then the Estate will be distributed in accordance to the rules of intestacy (dying without a Will.
There are other clauses we might need to put in your Will to ensure your assets, property and loved ones are protected, and if any of these seem relevant, they will be highlighted and discussed during our consultation.
You can continue to find out more information by browsing our website, or if you are ready to get the ball rolling you can get in contact with me.
I can offer you a free consultation which I can do in the comfort of your own home, or via the telephone, or you can visit us in Louth.
You have nothing to lose apart from a couple of hours of your time to see whether we are the right company and I am the right person to help you make your Will. Why not get in contact and arrange an appointment, or complete our online client questionnaire? I will be able to assess your circumstances, and explain what Goodwills can do to help.
I look forward to being able to help you get these matters resolved in a simple and straightforward manner.
Call me on 01507 707123, email email@example.com or complete our online client questionnaire to get started.
Jon-Paul Edwards is an experienced Goodwills Senior Estate Planning Practitioner. He lives local, is down to earth, speaks in plain English, and has strong family values.