Beware: A handwritten note can block your claim

Published 27 Sep 2016

Families and the lives they live can create complex interpersonal relationships, both good and bad. In some cases, this can lead to a person not wanting to leave their estate to someone who may be entitled to it under the Family Provision Act.

Fortunately, you can claim against an estate to ensure you receive what you have a legal right to. However, handwritten notes or videos that outline the reasons for this decision can put a dent in your family provision claim.

Left out for a reason

In many families, children become estranged from their parents and do not see each other for years. In others, a separation an dent the relationship you had with your former spouse. In some cases, a blended family leaves a spouse and their children not seeing eye to eye.

There are a large number of reasons why someone would leave another out of their will. In all cases, the deceased will look for ways to ensure that someone left out will not contest or challenge a will in the future.

While it is not always possible to stop someone from making a claim, will-makers can use documents that detail their reasoning. In most cases, a judge will look to a document as evidence when they are making a decision about the estate and how it will be distributed.

The document is essentially a personal message that explains the reasoning behind the move to exclude you. It can come in the form of a handwritten note, a video or audio recording or even a formal declaration.

What will a court look at?

Lawyers understand how the court works. So in most cases, this document will be on the advice of their legal expert.

When a will and estates lawyer recommends to the will-maker that they make a letter that clearly sets out the reasons and circumstances for leaving you out of the estate, they are doing this because a handwritten letter is clearer.

A handwritten letter is not only less likely to be misinterpreted, it also shows that there has no undue influence applied to its creation.

Yet a handwritten letter is not a silver bullet. In many cases, it is created during a separate process to the will. As such, there can be discrepancies. If you would like to know more about how you can take advantage of these and claim what you deserve, contact an expert today.

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