In many countries around the world, the law requires a person to leave his property, or at least a portion of it, to family members and relatives who survive him.
But in England and Wales, such “forced heirship rules” do not exist. An individual can make his own decision about who must inherit his property and possessions. So yes, you can write a will that benefits a friend. You are allowed to do so even if you have a spouse or a child who will survive you. The law calls this “Testamentary Freedom”.
But please keep in mind that a few complications can arise when you exclude close family members from your will. A surviving family member may feel that he or she hasn’t been given sufficient financial provisions. Under the Inheritance Act 1975, the law gives the spouse, child, dependant or cohabitee the right to claim your property.
To avoid any such complications that can arise post your demise, you can explain the concerned individual(s) why they are being excluded from the will. If it is not possible to explain to them while you’re still alive, you can include a short letter for them along with the will where you explain the reasons for your decision. In most cases, such a letter eliminates major complications.
But if you think that a letter of explanation will not suffice, then consult a solicitor who will help you see how you can avoid any complications.
By writing a will, you can leave your friend money, a cherished possession of sentimental value, your estate or a portion of your estate. You can also appoint your friend as an executor of your will. An executor is a person who is responsible for the administering and distributing of the property, assets, and money of a deceased individual.
When you write a will to benefit your friend, you are revealing a lot about your friendship. So, make sure to include in your will the reason for your decision. Your friend should know why you are leaving your will for him. Is it an expression of thanks for all the years of warm friendship or is there a more specific reason? For example, did your friend do something for which you are especially grateful? Make sure to mention such details in your will.
A well-written will can help to strengthen the bond of friendship and make it go a long way even after your death.
While writing a will for your friend, take note that everything written in a will is taken literally by the law. So, if you are writing something humorous in your will for your friend to read, you must be a little careful. You must ask yourself – Will things get complicated if my words are taken literally? Before writing a private joke that is meant to be taken sarcastically, it is best to take legal advice. At Aristone Solicitors, we are experts when it comes to drafting Will’s, also dealing Will contesting, Probate, Wills disputes,
Important Note: If you do not have family members or relatives surviving you and you have not written a will, your estate will go to the Crown. If you don’t want that to happen and instead, you want to benefit a friend or a charitable organization, make sure you write a will. Once you write a will, you can be at peace.