Can I cut my spouse out of my Will?
Posted on 24th February 2020
A Will is an important legal document, which outlines how your estate should pass following your death. Your estate includes anything you own, normally, such as property, jewellery, money in the bank, etc. You may decide that you want to leave your estate to your family, without any specific gifts to anyone else, or you may decide that you wish to leave gifts of money, or precious items, to charity or your friends.
In some cases, our local Wills solicitors’ clients decide that, actually, they’ve had enough of their family and they don’t want them to receive anything. The good news is, that you can do this; you just need to consult expert Wills writers, such as our team, to ensure that you exclude them properly!
When it comes to a spouse, however, this can be more difficult: as with all legal issues, the answer is, unfortunately, that it depends on why you are excluding your spouse.
In England and Wales, all people making a Will (providing that they have capacity, are over the age of 18 and they are making the Will of their own volition), have Testamentary Freedom. This means that you can set out whoever you want to receive your estate, and you can choose not to include anyone who you do not wish to receive anything from your estate, including your children or your spouse.
However, after you’ve passed away, your family may be able to challenge your Will, especially if they were financially dependent on you, and they were reliant on your money throughout their lifetimes. They can raise this challenge under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which sets out the categories of people who have legal standing to make a claim (i.e. challenge the deceased’s Will). Sadly, this type of claim can often be seen in the media, when celebrities don’t (allegedly) leave enough money to one member of their family or another.
Unfortunately, you cannot exclude the provisions of their Act from your Will, so whilst you can stipulate that you don’t wish to exclude a specific person, and you may even include a list of the reasons why on a separate document (if our team of local Wills solicitors recommend that this is a good idea), they are not prevented from making a claim from the off-set.
So, you may be wondering why you would even want to disinherit your spouse. Well, there can be countless reasons, which our team would also need more information about. Some commons reasons that are provided to us include that our clients are going through a divorce and wish to ensure that their spouse would not receive anything. Another reason can be that your spouse may be wealthy in their own rights, and you may therefore feel that someone else would better benefit from your estate. For some people, their spouses may not be good with money, and you may want to leave your estate directly to your children, to ensure that your spouse does not spend it all, leaving your children nothing.
Share this post: