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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10259
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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When my dad wrote his will in 2005, he originally wanted to

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When my dad wrote his will in 2005, he originally wanted to leave specified money amounts to various named family members & his will-writer told him he could not do that - leave definite monetary amounts - as he couldn't predict the closing value of his estate at that point! So dad was advised to leave gifts in percentage amounts and he did so. This has come as a shock to my sister & I as the individual gifts amount to over a third of his estate and we think dad was mislead as I have since been informed a person CAN indeed specify a gift in monetary value. Would we have a case for redress against the will-writer for the wrong direction? Thanks.

You are absolutely correct, there is nothing to stop anyone leaving specific amounts in the will rather than percentages.

However if the specific amounts are going to be quite large, that can be problematical because there may not be enough money to pay the large amounts and hence, relatively small amounts would be paid as fixed sums but if the person writing the will once to dispose of the whole estate, it’s normal to do it as a percentage.

Otherwise, if the estate is worth, for example, £200,000 when they eventually die, and they have left £50,000 to each of 5 people each of them is going to have to take a small hit or there can be an argument and hence, in cases like that, it is wise to do percentages.

If on the other hand the person is leaving 5 people £10,000 each and the rest to one particular person, there is no problem with that because there is enough in the estate to cover all the requests and leave some residue for the one particular person remaining.

The beneficiaries of the estate have a potential claim against the will writer and the will writing company if the beneficiaries have been disadvantaged as a result of the incorrect advice.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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We can still exchange emails. Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, just wanted to say thanks for your help. Had a meeting yesterday re. probate application and cleared up my worries as to why my Dad gave gifts as percentages in his will as opposed to set cash sums so my mind is somewhat eased now and we are back on track. Thanks again, I'd be happy to use your services in the future if required. Kind regards, Janet.

Thank you Janet. I am glad to have been able to help you. Best wishes.