When Family Fight Back

Today the Head of the Wills and Probate Department, Samantha Downs, was invited to BBC Radio Leicester to take part in an interview along with Andrew Ball of Rainbows Hospice. We spoke about the recent decision by the Court of Appeal, Ilott v Mitson. This case is being considered by some to be a landmark case in opening up the number of adult children who will contest their parent’s Will where they have been disinherited.

This is of genuine concern to charities such as Rainbows as it is usual for charities to be included in someone’s Will, where that person does not wish to include their family members. Of course, at a time when donations to charities during the lifetime and after death of a person is significantly reduced, it is of particular concern to charities.

So, what is the law surrounding the above case? Quite simply, you can make a Will giving your property and money to anybody you choose to including cutting out family members who may be expected to receive something in the usual course of events. However, there are certain classes of individual, such as children, whether adults or minors, who if not reasonably provided for within the Will can contest the same. It is then, ultimately, up to a Judge as to whether the child has been reasonably provided for and if not, the amount of funds they will be provided with.

Historically, adult children who were financially independent of their parents had great difficulty in being successful in any claim against their parent’s Will if disinherited, unless there were special circumstances or a moral obligation. Ilott v Mitson appears on first sight to have changed this completely meaning that any adult child whether or not there any special circumstances or a moral obligation can make a claim against their parent’s Will where they have not been reasonably provided for.

Where you wish to disinherit anybody from your Will, you should ensure that you obtain advice, firstly as to the possible success of any claim against your Will and secondly as to the steps you should take to limit the chances of success of any such claim. Please contact Samantha Downs or a member of the Wills and Probate Team on 0116 262 8596 who would be happy to discuss your requirements.

Where you think that you should have been included in someone’s Will and haven’t or have not been left a gift which reasonably provides for you, please contact either Samantha Downs or Sarah Spence on 0116 262 8596 so that we may advise you accordingly.

If you would like to listen to the interview please click on this link