Do you understand the consequences your will could have?
Are you free to use your Will to reward or punish your family?
The recent Supreme Court case of Ilott –v- Blue Cross provides welcome guidance in relation to claims made by disinherited adult children.
Your freedom is limited by the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.
Mrs Ilott was Mrs Jackson’s only child. Aged 17 she left home to live with her boyfriend, they married and had 4 children. Mrs Jackson disapproved of Mr Ilott and this led to a 26 year long rift. Mrs Jackson died in 2004 leaving by Will her entire Estate worth £486,000 to Blue Cross and other charities and a letter instructing her Executors to fight any claim Mrs Ilott might make.
For 12 years this case wound its way up to the Supreme Court and the entire Estate has gone in legal fees.
The Supreme Court has now confirmed what we at Chattertons have always believed namely that adult children may use the Act to claim that the Will does not make reasonable financial provision for the adult child and that if the Court is satisfied on that point, the Court may make reasonable but modest provision for the maintenance of the adult child and that maintenance may be paid as a lump sum, not necessarily by instalments.
The original Judge awarded Mrs Ilott a lump sum of £50,000. The Court of Appeal increased this to £143,000 to enable Mrs Ilott to buy a house and a lump sum of £20,000. The Supreme Court have restored the original figure of £50,000 but it is understood that Mrs Ilott will receive nothing.
Making a Will is a very important task and not one to be taken lightly, to make sure that your Will correctly reflects your wishes please contact a member of our Wills team.