“Wacky” will terms on the rise

“Wacky” will terms on the rise

DIY will writing services have made it easier for people to include so-called “wacky” terms in their wills, according to a report.

The report states there has been a rise in “trust clauses” or conditions that specify how an inheritance is paid out. An early example of such a clause was the will of Frank Smith, who in 1937 wrote a non-negotiable clauses into his will, where he pledged to give all his remaining possessions to his daughter but only if she gave up her “immoral husband” so that he was unable to benefit from the estate.

If the daughter refused, Smith said the money could go to the Exchequer. Unfortunately, the article does not reveal what Frank Smith’s daughter chose to do.

Soaring property prices behind the trend

The trend behind the rise in trust clauses, experts say, is because of soaring property prices, people living for longer and a rise in second and third marriages.

Many conditions are typical, such as where parents specify that an inheritance can only be used for property or education or that children can only receive it once they reach a certain age.

Talking to the Daily Mail, Carl Christensen from freewills.co.uk said that he also regularly sees people leave wealth or property to their surviving spouse, but should that person remarry or live with another partner, then money must be repaid to the estate.

Testator specified baptism as a condition

A more unusual case he has seen was where the testator stated that no inheritance would be given to four grandchildren until where were baptised. Not all the four grandchildren were baptised and not keen on the prospect, despite being in line for £20,000 if they did so.

In another case, Erin Moroney told the paper that she wanted to split her wealth between her sister niece and nephew but has stated in her will that the teenage niece and nephew cannot receive the money until they are 28 year old, unless it is for education.

She hopes that this means they will be less likely to squander the money. She added that her niece and nephew knew about the money and every time they were cheeky to her, she would tell them she was going to leave all her money to a cat.

Man left money to himself

In a more unusual case, a man left himself £10,000 should reincarnation be real. How he proved his identity and claimed that money when he returned is unclear.

According to the experts, parents who delay their children’s inheritance often state they can only have the money when they turn 21 or 25, but this can also stretch to middle age.

In certain cases, the money may only be released if the beneficiaries achieve life goals, such as buying a home, setting up a business or getting married. Legacies for friends and neighbours are often left on the condition that person looks after a pet.

Some clauses are included in wills to protect wealth from gold-diggers. If a significant amount of money is being passed onto children, parents often specify their child has a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement in place.

Straight-up exclusions of people from inheriting any part of an estate are also very common. This is typically also estranged children but can also include current husbands and wives.

Letters of wishes are more informal where the testator outlines what they would like their beneficiaries to spend their inheritance on.


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This article was submitted to be published by Finders International as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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