Can I Disinherit My Spouse & Children From My Estate When I Die?
The short answer is yes you can as long as you understand the consequences of doing so. Often people choose to disinherit loved ones because of a dispute or a break down in relationship.
Others believe that because one family member such as a child has more money of their own that they should not leave them anything or provide the other child more instead. Although these are all valid reasons for not wanting to provide for someone or provide more for one person than another, you should have regard to the claims that disgruntled beneficiary could bring against your estate.
According to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, you are obliged to provide for certain members of your family including a spouse and children.
Historically, if these people were financial dependant on you and you failed to provide for them or did but not sufficient to meet their financial needs, then they could challenge your estate and if successful, they would be awarded a share of your estate by the Court. However, a recent case changed this view whereby the deceased’s estranged daughter who was not financially dependent on her mother at the time of her death, was able to successfully bring a claim against her mother’s estate under the 1975 Act.
It is therefore imperative that legal advice is obtained before signing a Will disinheriting anyone that could potentially bring a claim against your estate. This also includes spouses who are separated or going through a divorce and cohabitees who have been living together as husband and wife for a period of 2 years or more.