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Can I leave my Estate to anyone? Can I leave people out of my Will?

Under UK law you have a lot of freedom in your Will to leave your Estate to whoever you like. However, you need to be aware that legally you have to provide reasonable support to all people who are financially dependent on you (e.g. spouse, children etc.) and anyone you maintained / supported financially. This is governed by The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. If you do not provide reasonable support, your Will can be challenged by an application to the High Court.

The meaning of 'reasonable financial provision' will differ depending on the status of the applicant (the person who has not been 'treated / looked after properly'). If the applicant is a spouse of the deceased, the test is: such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for a husband or wife to receive, whether or not that provision is required for their maintenance. In the case of any other applicant, including a former spouse of the deceased, 'reasonable financial provision' means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case to receive for their maintenance.

This section below sets out the matters to which the Court is to have regard in all cases. Section 3(1) of the Act sets out the following:

"(1) Where an application is ... as to make reasonable financial provision for the applicant ... the Court ... shall ... have regard to the following matters, that is to say -

(a) the financial resources and financial needs which the applicant has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(b) the financial resources and financial needs which any other applicant ... has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(c) the financial resources and financial needs which any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
(d) any obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards any applicant ... or towards any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
(e) the size and nature of the net estate of the deceased;
(f) any physical or mental disability of any applicant ... or any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
(g) any other matter, including the conduct of the applicant or any other person, which in the circumstances of the case the court may consider relevant."

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered. GlossLegal is not a law firm and is not a substitute for a solicitor or law firm. GlossLegal cannot provide legal advice. Please note that your access to and use of the GlossLegal website is subject to additional terms and conditions. GlossLegal is the trading name of Enterprisexchange Limited registered in England, United Kingdom under Company Number 3803556.