Legal Q&A: Leaving Child out of Will

Q. I have seen that there has been a final ruling in a case involving a charity and a daughter’s claim in her late mother’s estate. What does this outcome mean?

A. The Supreme Court has recently ruled in favour of the charities in the case of Ilott v Mitson. In this case the deceased had been estranged from her daughter for many years and left her estate between various charities, leaving her daughter out.

Children have a right to make a claim against a parent’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family Dependants) Act 1975 for entitlement to their parents’ estates on death. However the outcome of this case has shown the court will take a broad brush approach to such a claim and that an adult child’s entitlement should be limited to maintenance only. 

The court has also stated that providing maintenance does not mean that the child should be entitled to everything that they reasonably need.

But the court reasonably did state that the wishes of the deceased should be carefully considered. The daughter was awarded a sum of £50,000 ultimately, despite her mother making no provision for her. This area of law is still very complex and each case will be determined on a fact by fact basis.

If this concerns you, you may wish to seek advice from a suitably qualified solicitor.

To speak to Jo Wild or Amuneek Mann about any aspect of Probate Law please call 01780 752066 or email jo.wild@hegarty.co.uk or amuneek.mann@hegarty.co.uk