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Wills FAQ Book

Will Exclusion Circumstances Explained

When you fail to name a beneficiary in your Will who may have expected to inherit you are effectively making a deliberate exclusion. Different circumstances and wishes for the distribution of your estate can lead to such an exclusion.

For example:
A deliberate exclusion could simply be because a child who would have normally been a beneficiary of your Will did not want to be a beneficiary for tax reasons or they simply had enough personal assets that they did not require further wealth.

Another common reason for deliberately excluding someone from your Will would be if you have a child who you have had strained relations with and you don’t want them to benefit from your estate in any way. Whilst this may sound quite extreme it happens a lot. Sometimes parents have spent thousands of pounds on a child who has let them down time after time.

Should I Mention the Exclusion in my Will

The answer to this is YES, your Will should contain a deliberate exclusion clause naming the person you have deliberately excluded, there full name and relationship to you. This clause should clearly state that the person in question should receive no part of your estate.

In addition to this, you should go one step further and create a separate letter of wishes that explains in detail the reasons for the deliberate exclusion. This letter should be signed and dated by you and stored with the Will. Whilst the Will itself needs to be signed and witnessed, the letter of wishes does not.

Never attach any such letters to the Will because if they become detached it could indicate signs of Will tampering and invalidate your Will.

A separate letter of wishes is advised because the deliberate exclusion clause in the Will should go into no more detail than that mentioned above. Any more and the clause could become ambiguous and cause the Will to Fail.

Why do I Need to Do This

One someone dies leaving a Will, the Will is open to challenge in the form of contesting the Will, this is often referred to as contentious probate. For example, you fail to mention that an estranged child is not to benefit from your estate in the event of your death.

Upon your death, this child decides to contest the Will on the basis that they were your child and you would not have intentionally left them out of the Will.

Whilst they may not succeed it is advisable to cover yourself and gain peace of mind that should such a claim be made you have clearly mentioned the exclusion in your Will and provided a letter of wishes explaining why that your executors can use when fighting such a challenge and ensuring your dying wishes are followed.


If you are deliberately excluding someone from your Will it’s best to seek advice from a professional Will Writer or Solicitor. Whilst a Deliberate Exclusion clause may sound simple it needs to be written correctly to ensure your wishes are protected in the event of a contentious probate claim.

You shouldn’t be charged any more than the normal cost for your Will for having this clause added. The professional can also advise you on how to correctly write a letter of wishes. And may even do it for you once they have established your reasons for the exclusion.

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