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A testator’s disposal of property and providing for the family, cohabitants and dependants

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Isra G.
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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Inheritance Act of 1975 and the Provision for Family and Dependants.
  3. The question of what a testator does with his or her property.
  4. The provisions to the Inheritance Act and broadening the definition of what a family is.
  5. The case in Re Beaumont Deceased.
  6. Cases where person who have a very good claim on the estate and should have been included in the will, were not.
  7. The way the Inheritance Act is set up.
  8. The right balance between allowing a will to be contested and allowing the right person to contest a will.
  9. Conclusion.

In our courts, wills are contested and challenged every day. Despite the best intentions of the testator, or author of the will, there is no such thing as a will that cannot be contested. Still, it is important to remember that a will is designed to protect the wishes of the testator after they are deceased and the will comes into play. After all, the testator took the time and paid the expenses to have a will written, so shouldn't their wishes be honored? Still, everyone has heard the stories of testators changing their minds or re-writing wills on their deathbeds. Although painful for the surviving families, the mental sanity of the testator in these cases is often brought into question. For legal scholars, the question is finer than this. Is a testator allowed to divide his or her property however they wish, or is do dependents, family members, and others affected by the will have a right to question the testator's decisions after they (the testator) are gone and unable to clarify their wishes?

[...] Tesheira, Karen, ?Trinidad and Tobago: A Case for Reform in the Law of Succession.? The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol 45, No (July 1996): 675-684. Ascher, Mark. ?Curtailing Inherited Wealth.? Michigan Law Review, Vol No (Aug., 1983): 529-550. Coldham, Simon. The Modern Law Review, Vol No (Jan., 1982), pp. 100-103. Green, Kate.? The Englishwoman's Castle. Inheritance and Private Property Today.? The Modern Law Review, Vol No (Mar., 1988), pp. 187-209. Bradley, D.C. ?Meaning of "Family": Changing Morality and Changing Justice.? The Modern [...]


[...] Two people can live side-by-side for years and split expenses, yet in the eyes of the law, a cohabitant may not be necessarily eligible for benefits from the estate. This question is answered by whether or not the cohabitator was getting support from the testator. If the testator was providing support, then legally the cohabitator can make a claim against the will, according to the Inheritance Act. If the cohabitator was living independently financially, then no claim can be made through the provisions of the Act. [...]


[...] Some states make provisions for cohabitation and common law marriages, while others ignore these issues all together in terms of who can and who cannot dispute a will. Reforms that could make a difference in estate law would be a dramatic return to a testator's rights and freedoms. If the testator deems that you must wear pink on every third Tuesday of a month in order to receive money from the estate, then it should be done. If a testator excludes a mistress or gives everything to a mistress, that wish should be followed. [...]

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