Please Explain needed says court

The right of people to leave money and assets to whom they wish in their will has been seriously undermined by a landmark court ruling, lawyers warned.

Law Society’s wills and equity committee member, Gary Rycroft, said: “This ruling is saying that while you can still disinherit your children, you are going to have to explain why and show connections with those you are leaving the money to.”

Justly’s will app includes a explanation field for each bequest, guardianship appointment, life interest and residuary estate bequest ensuring your family, trustees, and the courts have a clear understanding of your wishes, the reasons behind them and the context in which they are made.

Justly’s system is unique in this feature and means your will is less likely to be challenged or ignored by the courts.

The last will and testament of Melita Jackson left her £500,000 estate to animal charities when she died in 2004.

But after an eight-year court battle, her only daughter, Heather Ilott, 54, was granted a third of that money on the grounds that her mother did not leave “reasonable provision” for her in the will.

The fact that Mrs Jackson had little connection to the charities to which she left her money played a part in the ruling, the judges said.

Legal experts said the ruling had implications for how people needed to draw up their wills. They said it suggested that people would in future have to explain their reasons for why they had left money to certain parties and demonstrate tangible connections to them.