Do you have a survivorship clause in your Will? Chances are you do, if you leave assets to someone outright in your Will. The mischief that these clauses are designed to avoid is this. If A gives a gift to B in his Will and B dies the day after A, B’s estate will get the gift and it will be B’s Will that decides where A’s gift ends up. However, in these circumstances, A may have wanted someone else to get the gift instead (A may not like B’s choice of heirs!). Survivorship clauses are meant to solve this problem. They also prevent the delay associated with the same money being administered through two separate estates and can reduce the total Inheritance Tax bill on both estates.
Survivorship clauses introduce a condition of survivorship to an otherwise outright gift in a Will – for example: ‘I give £100,000 to my nephew if he survives my death by 28 days’. Sometimes a catch-all survivorship clause is included instead; for example: ‘My estate is to be divided as if any person who dies within 28 days of my death had predeceased me’. However, this exact catch-all phrase unfortunately caught out the estates of the late Mr and Mrs Winson, as recently decided in the case of Jump v Lister  EWHC 2160 (Ch).