How to Disinherit Someone in your Will by Eilish Adams | The Law House

How to Disinherit Someone in your Will by Eilish Adams

By in All Blogs, Wills, Trusts & Probate Category on April 24th, 2014

All of us have someone we dislike intensely and often it is a close family member. Well, I am human and mortal but I am not alone in this situation. I won’t say who mine is but I would turn in my grave if they inherited any part of my estate.

Over the years many people have come to me using some very choice words I cannot repeat about certain relatives. They are usually about their wayward children and why they should not; under any circumstances inherit their estate on death. They become consumed with the need to get this down in a Will before they die.

Given that the number people challenging a Will each year isincreasing upwards of 30%, ensuring that your wishes are carried out in accordance with the terms of your Will has become more important than ever. 20 years ago you would rarely ask “is there anyone you do not wish to inherit your estate or likely to think they have a right to some part of your estate and you don’t?”  Some of the reasons for this were that people did not have as much to leave and had less personal debt. Once the recession hit, claiming against an estate was an opportunity to gain something they might otherwise not have. Some people they will say “it’s worth a punt” meaning that it will rarely go to court and they will most likely receive something simply to make them go away. Ultimately the estates avoid the cost of legal action which is expensive, £25k to £50k or more.

So what do we do when you don’t want a close relative inheriting? One thing I do is make a cup of tea, make the right supportive noises and usually obtain a family history fraught with laziness, drug abuse and sheer wastefulness.I point out that if they want their wishes carried out I have to make them look reasonable when they are dead. If it goes to court they must appear like the most reasonable person alive! The options available are:

  •  One option is to leave some small cash gift in their Will to the person they have issues with.
  • Include a forfeiture clause in the Will saying that if anyone contests their gift claiming they should have more they will lose their gift outright.
  • Enclose a detailed letter of wishes with the Will that explains their actions in the Will, who the forfeiture clause is aimed at and the detailing the reasons why that person should not inherit. It won’t necessarily stop the person making a claim but it will limit greatly their chances of success if they go to court. The letter is not brought to light unless there is a claim.

If you have a family member or close relative who might have expectations about inheriting from your estate and your opinion is the opposite you need to make a Will. If you would like expert advice on how to deal with wayward relatives in your Will please contact me Eilish Adams on 020 8899 6620 or email me on