It can be tempting to think that giving a child a shilling or other token amount of money in a will indicates that the testator and the recipient were “on the outs” at the time the will was written. That’s not necessarily so.

It’s also very possible that the testator gave the child money well before the will was written–perhaps when they married or set out on their own. In this case, the token bequest shows that the testator remembered the child. Leaving them from the will totally opened the door to someone claiming that they were forgotten.

The shilling recipient may very well have been on the outs with the testator at the time the will was written. Family squabbles certainly happen and parents leave children out of their wills all the time. But it is not the only scenario and many times these wills will reference the estrangement in one way or another.

Some wills may mention amounts of money previously given to children, but not all do.

Don’t just assume a shilling means that the parent was giving the child the shaft. That’s not necessarily the case.



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