What does your Will say about you?

Advice  |   7 January 2021

Written by
Elliot Lewis, Partner

One of the most important issues we discuss with clients when it comes to putting a Will in place is the impact which the document, and the way in which it is phrased, are going to have upon those left behind.

The content of a Will and the way it’s drafted can leave both a positive and negative impression of the Testator. If drafted without giving thought to this, it can create unintended lasting damage to family relationships.

A Solicitor who specialises in this area will be able to talk you through these pitfalls.

Many of our clients want to make a real difference to society through the terms of their Wills. We have clients who want to leave monies to either Charities or on occasion clients have wanted to create their own Charitable Trusts to further particular causes. We had a client who left his estate to create a Charitable Trust named in his late wife’s honour for the benefit of Animals. That Trust came into being some 20 years ago or so and still undertakes valuable work in that field.

One of the most famous examples was the Will of Cecil John Rhodes a Victorian entrepreneur, politician and the founder of the State of Rhodesia (which was named after him), now called Zimbabwe.

Under Cecil’s Will the Rhodes scholarship was created which is an international study programme through Oxford University. That scholarship is still going some 110 years later and is known throughout the world. One of the most famous Rhodes scholars was former President Bill Clinton.

The wishes themselves can often leave those left behind a lasting impression of the person making the Will. We have seen numerous examples over the years where a client has wished to leave unequal distributions between children and that has caused a great deal of bitterness and resentment both between the beneficiaries themselves and has coloured their view of the deceased.

Discussions of this type do require a specialist to assist and talk through the sensitivity of the decisions being taken to ensure the client is fully aware of the implications in doing so and the options available.

For a discussion in confidence on any of these issues please contact Elliot Lewis at elliot.lewis@thackraywilliams.com or on 0208 290 0440.

Related Insights