Knowledge Base




Articles0 Results

I am a single parent with two adult children. I wish them both to inherit what property I have equally. I trust both of them completely. Is there any need to make a will ?

Inheritance Wills

No. In the absence of a will the property of a deceased person who is single will be distributed according to the principles of the 1965 Inheritance Law. These state that where the deceased person has no spouse but does have children the deceased’s property is to be divided between his/her children in equal parts. Accordingly, where there is absolute trust between two adult children and they have no manipulative partners to complicate matters then it is unnecessary to make a will. If, however, either of them has a manipulative partner, then it may be advisable to make a will.

am an eldery widow. My daughter recently suggested a solution to my loneliness and advancing age and her financial problems. She lives in rented accommodation with her husband. She suggested that I sell my flat in a central location and buy a bigger flat on the outskirts of town which could house all of us if I moved in with them. She asked me to register it in her and her husband’s name, promising that I could live there for the rest of my life, and that she would always look after me, even if I became sick or senile. I am worried that something could go wrong if I give them the flat as a gift. How can I co-operate, yet protect my future ?

Inheritance Wills

You can co-operate by making a contract, only with your daughter, in which you undertake to transfer title of the property, without actually transferring title at the Lands Registry. You must make sure that your daughter’s obligations towards you are set out clearly and that it is stated that transfer of title to her is conditional on the fulfillment of these, and is to be effected only after your  death. This way, only a written undertaking to make a gift is made, and you are  protected as you can cancel it if your daughter behaves extremely negatively towards you. If, however, you  transfer of title during your lifetime, then cancellation is extremely difficult, and depends on the existence of exceptional circumstances.
The contract can be reinforced by a will in you make a conditional bequest to her daughter – the flat, if she fulfils her obligation. By taking these two legal steps, the contract and the will, as outlined, you would be protecting your future, and not put be putting it at the mercy of your daughter or the success of her marriage.

I am a widower in my seventies. I have a lady friend with whom I would like to live. I do not wish to upset my children marrying her as their mother died just over a year ago. I want to leave the bulk of my estate to my children and grandchildren but would also like to provide for my ladyfriend. What should I do ?

Inheritance Wills

Preferably operate on two fronts – make a property/family life agreement with this ladyfriend, and also make a valid will. Together this would allow you to leave the bulk of your estate to your family, and also provide for your ladyfriend.
You are  free to do what you want with your own property in your will – leave it to your children and grandchildren from what is said. Should you not wish to also draw up a “living together agreement” (which would define your mutual rights and obligations regarding property, and could clearly protect your interests and those of your family , during your relationship and afterwards should you split up or die) you could make also make some provision for this lady in the will, too.

I have just discovered that I have an irregular heart beat and could have a heart attack at any time. I have not told my wife with whom my relationship has deteriorated. I have been considering a divorce although we have been married for 15 years and have two children. What would happen to our home, car, house contents and savings if I died suddenly ? I have never made a will but have been wondering whether I should now as I’d certainly prefer my children to inherit what’s mine than my wife.

Inheritance Wills

You would certainly be advised to make a will. If you die intestate (without a will) then according to the 1965 Inheritance Law your wife would inherit the family car, the house contents and the rest of your estate ( your share  in the family home and savings which is usually half ) would be shared equally by your wife and children, her getting half and each of them a quarter. Thus as long as you remain legally married, regardless of the state of your relationship and even if you are in  the process of divorce, the wife would be entitled to this under law. Additionally because you married after 1974 when The Spouses’ Property Relations Act came into force, her rights as a married woman would be protected . Basically, she would be entitled to half of marital  property acquired by mutual effort during the marriage, with certain property e.g.  that belonging to you before marriage or obtained by way of gift/inheritance being excluded from this.
Having a will drafted would enable you to leave your half of the common property and anything belonging to you before marriage or gained by way of gift or inheritance to your children, and allow you to avoid your wife inheriting it.

I have been locked into an unhappy marriage for over 20 years but my husband would fight me to the death in court if I filed for divorce because he has always leaned on me financially. I have worked and developed a career while he has switched occupations and been in and out of work, and been downright lazy and irresponsible. Recently I discovered I have cancer and my chances of recovery are slim. Divorce is out of the question because legal battles would be disastrous for me physically and emotionally now. Our home and everything we own is the result of my hard work during our marriage. What can I do to maximize what my children will get after I die and minimize what my husband will get ?

Inheritance Wills

Unless you make a will, your husband would be entitled to his full rights as a surviving spouse under the 1965 Inheritance Law upon your demise, and your property would be shared between him and your children. This would still be the case however bad your relationship was, and even if you were locked in a divorce battle. If, however, you make a will you can double what your children will get – without a draining legal battle during your lifetime

Can a husband make a will depriving his wife of property acquired during their marriage, including an apartment which is registered entirely in his name ?

Inheritance Wills

Firstly, property which was acquired during the parties’ marriage is, prima facie, joint property, even if it is registered in only one party’s name. The fact that the other spouse is name does not appear does not take away his/her legal rights in it. The testator can only bequeath what he owns. In most situations he may actually be legally entitled only to a 50% share of the property, and not 100%, even if it is registered solely in his name.

Accordingly, the wife will be entitled to half of the apartment, even though she is not registered as an owner. Thus, the husband is only entitled to do what he wishes with his rights in the property – i.e. in his will he has absolute discretion as to whom he wishes to bequeath all his rights, which are 50%. Thus he is perfectly free to leave them to someone else, and not his wife.

If, however, the property was acquired during the marriage and registered in his sole name, but for, example, was acquired by way of gift or inheritance, the situation will be different, and he will own 100% rights in it, and he will be free to bequeath all of them as he wishes.

Why is it a good idea to make a will ?

Inheritance Wills

Because one can do virtually whatever one wishes with one’s property when one dies by making a will. If one does not make a will one’s property could end up in the “wrong hands” as it will be distributed according to the strict procedural rules of the Inheritance Law. A will enables one to have more control of what happens to one’s property after one dies and balance the needs of the people one wishes to inherit and make priorities and conditions. A will gives the testator peace of mind about the fate of his/her property after he/she passes away.

A classic example of someone who would benefit from making a will is a widow/widower or divorcee entering a live-in relationship or new marriage who wants to leave money for their children and grandchildren as well as taking care of their new partner. A property relations agreement would also be recommended here.

Elderly couples often make mutual wills which enable the surviving spouse to be catered for upon the death of either of them and provide for their children/grandchildren too.

A married person who is unsettled in their marriage or who mistrusts their partner and is perhaps contemplating divorce at some stage may prefer to make a will leaving their property to their children (perhaps under a managed trust) rather than having it divided between their spouse and children if they die intestate (without making a will).

An elderly person who wants to help an adult child financially but is worried about becoming dependent/vulnerable, can use a will to make a conditional bequest, perhaps in conjunction with a cancellable written undertaking to make a gift.

Questions and Answers7 Results

* We hope you find our website useful and easy to use. Please note, however, that the information provided on it is not a substitute for personal legal counselling which is available upon payment.

Skip to content