The short answer is yes: when writing their Will, every person has the absolute right to leave their property to whomever they wish. The longer answer is yes: but care should be taken to prevent the child being able to successfully claim from the estate after their parent’s death.

While most people will look to leave their property to their close family, mainly children if they have them, at Lakes Wills we have found that sadly, disputes between parents and children are not as rare as we’d hope. Therefore, if a person wanted to include some of their children in their Will but not others, we would specifically name the excluded child/ren in the Will with a short reason why, and also ask the client to handwrite a letter explaining their decision, to be kept with the Will. This could help ward off any legal challenge from the disinherited child/ren.

Then there are cases where a parent may not want any of their children to inherit from them; they may want to give their estate to charity, or a close friend or other relative who has helped them in their life. Again, in such a case, we would ask for a handwritten note as a backup to prevent a legal challenge succeeding.

Mental capacity is of course important in all of the above cases, and any question over the testator’s mental capacity would raise doubts about the validity of the Will. A dissatisfied child may also try to allege that the person came under undue influence when writing their Will, and that the Will did not actually reflect their wishes.

Although we would always advise you use a qualified professional to write your Will, in cases like the above where a person’s wishes risk a dispute after their death, taking professional advice is even more important.

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