Reading in the Daily Telegraph recently, it gave details of the Will of the mother of Chris Evans, who sadly passed away recently, leaving an estate of around £130,000. Mrs Evans had left her estate to her children equally, including Chris, who must be worth many millions. Some might say, other family members might be more deserving, or in need of that money. Others may say she has done the right thing.
A consideration here is that a wealthier sibling, if they wish, may choose to give their share away to a needier brother or sister. Others when making a Will may take a more biblical approach and say, if a son or daughter hasn’t looked after their money well, they don’t deserve more, so it is wiser to benefit a more successful brother or sister instead. There can also be the “benefit” problem. If a son or daughter is in receipt of state benefits, and they receive a large inheritance, their benefits may be affected, or even removed, until the inheritance is spent. Not a great result. One option in such cases, is to leave assets “in trust” for a beneficiary, with trustees to look after the money, so they can’t access it themselves.
We also see problems when one son or daughter has looked after an elderly parent, in their old age or simply lives near to them, and is able to assist. The parent can often view that the other child or children do nothing and consequently, they don’t want to benefit them in their Will. This situation can be amplified as they start to lose mental capacity, and become more dependent on family for everything. They can easily forget the past, and only remember very recent events.
Step children can also create complications. Should they be treated the same as children of the full blood? You might need to know more about the family and how they interact to answer this one.
In conclusion, when writing your Will, I would always try to be “fair”, unless there is very good reason not to be.