6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life today click here

Can your Will be challenged after you’ve gone?

PUBLISHED: 12:47 12 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 12 April 2017

Archant

Recently the Supreme Court upheld the wishes of a mother who had chosen to exclude her daughter from her will and leave everything to charity. Lucy Fisher, Wills, Trusts and Probate lawyer at B P Collins explains the repercussions of this ruling.

Mrs Ilott had been estranged from her mother, Mrs Jackson, when she left home at the age of 17 to live with her now husband. Mrs Jackson decided to make a will disinheriting her daughter and leaving her money to three charities instead. The will was accompanied by a letter of wishes, which explained why she had made this decision.

Mrs Ilott decided to challenge her mother’s will, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which allows a court, to interfere with the terms of a will where it can be shown that reasonable financial provision has not been made for a spouse or child, and occasionally some other person.

When the matter first came before the court, it was recognised that some provision for Mrs Ilott was appropriate and so she was awarded £50,000. However, Mrs Ilott was not happy with this and case was referred to the Court of Appeal where the amount she should receive increased to £163,000. The charities objected to this, arguing that it went against Mrs Jackson’s wishes and risked encouraging other people to challenge the terms of their relatives’ wills, potentially depriving charities of valuable legacies. The Supreme Court upheld the charities’ objections and the mother’s wishes. However, despite this ruling, we cannot draw final conclusions for those who are thinking about making or challenging a will. What we can say is that:

• English law recognises the freedom of people to dispose of their assets through their will to whoever they wish and the courts should be slow in interfering with this right, except in exceptional circumstances. In this case Mrs Jackson wishes were very clear, having been set out in her will and explained in an accompanying letter of wishes.

• An adult child making a claim under the Inheritance Act is only entitled to ask the court to make reasonable financial provision for their maintenance.

• This case does highlight the lack of clarity in the law on what might constitute reasonable financial provision for an adult child, however, the court needs to consider a range of factors, including the value of the deceased person’s estate and the financial resources and needs of those named in the will and those applying to vary it. They should also consider how any mental or physical disability anyone named in the will or seeking to challenge it suffers from, together with other relevant matters, such as the reasonableness of the decision to disinherit and the conduct of everybody involved.

• Maintenance will usually be paid as income but, if the facts of the case justify it, it can be paid as a lump sum. Where it is desirable for a child to be provided with secure housing, this should normally be achieved by giving them a right to occupy a property for life rather than giving or buying them a property outright. This is so the value of the property remains an asset of the deceased person’s estate and can therefore ultimately be passed on to the persons or organisations named in the will.

Overall, whilst some may see this as a rebalancing of the law in favour of testamentary freedom, the requirements under the Inheritance Act 1975 remain the same and an adult child can still make a successful claim against an estate if reasonable financial provision is not made for them.

For advice on making a will, guidance on probate or creating a trust, come along to our Dying Matters event on 13 May 2017. 


privateclient@bpcollins.co.uk | 01753 889995 | Facebook | Twitter: @bpcollinslaw

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tue, 12:09

It’s not all trolls and outrage, some of us ‘meet’ people who share and care in a new version of ‘community’ Karen finds

Read more
Monday, August 7, 2017

As nominations open for this year’s glittering county sport awards, Steve Cohen talks to the ‘unsung hero’ who has devoted 40 years to one junior club in Bourne End

Read more
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Celebrities and other famous figures who went to school in Berkshire

Read more
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

‘Design porn’ closets, pristine paintwork and gleaming kitchens: we love it, but what does it say about us, Anne wonders

Read more
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In the absence of a no-fault clause getting a divorce is not always easy

Read more
Monday, July 17, 2017

Young opera stars make the most of a weekend at home in Buckinghamshire and tell their story to Sandra Smith

Read more
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The market town is steeped in history. Claire Pitcher caught up with two of the people keeping it ticking towards a prosperous and community spirited future

Read more
Monday, July 10, 2017

Following their dream, the Boltons are helping the rest of us to deliciously ‘keep our cool’ in Aylesbury and High Wycombe... and come back for more

Read more
Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Karen’s on a mission to get fighting fit and is now in awe of those definitely not-so-fragile flowers who grace the dance stage

Read more
Thursday, June 29, 2017

Last year, we related the uplifting testimonies of three patients at South Buckinghamshire Community Hospice. Now, as the charity moves into a new £4.8m building, another three people tell what the Hospice means to them

Read more
Monday, June 26, 2017

Netball is thriving in our county, so Sandra Smith went courtside with Wendover Sparrowhawks to discover more about their goals

Read more
Friday, June 23, 2017

A few centuries ago our Lord Lieutenants might have to fight invaders, but the present one’s battles tend to involve the M4 jams, Angela Knight discovers

Read more
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Away from the top hats of Ascot there’s a host of people who play a part in the equestrian community in Lambourn. Claire Pitcher visited the Valley of the Racehorse

Read more
Monday, June 12, 2017

It sounds like heaven to Maureen McLean: Rick’s delicious dishes and favourite movies on a big screen

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Berkshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search