You may have seen in the press that there has been a dispute which has spanned many years upon a person's right to vary a will. The case involves the daughter of the deceased on benefits where her mother had been adamant that she did not want her daughter to receive anything instead leaving her entire estate of just under £500,000 to animal charities.
The daughter made a claim on the estate as a dependent under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act of 1975.
The court overturned the Will stating that they did not consider that the daughter had been given what is called “reasonable financial provision” as the Act provided for.
This case is finally going to the Supreme Court in order that there can be absolute clarification in terms of the use of the Act having regard to adult children.
The main purpose of the Act was to ensure that spouses and children are not left penniless if they are left out of Wills.
At the end of last year a change was made to dependants to take into account todays more blended families therefore stepchildren and other partners can now also be considered.
The case that is going to the Supreme Court is “Ilott v The Blue Cross and Others”. The first Judge awarded £50,000 to the daughter by way of maintenance in 2007. The Court of Appeal and the High Court upheld the award after the daughter appealed however the award was increased last summer by the Court of Appeal.
The charities are duty-bound to protect their position and of course they receive a large proportion of their income through bequests from Wills. People need certainty in that their money goes to the people that they want it to go to whether that is family or charity. Legacies often make up half of total income for main charities.
It is hoped that the Supreme Court's ruling will make it far easier for people to know when they can and cannot contest Wills and make it far easier to settle disputes.
This illustrates the importance of making sure that your Will has been prepared by a professional who will explain how to ensure your wishes are able to be carried through. We have the experience and knowledge to explain in detail the position when making a Will how to leave your hard earned monies and also expertise (ranked by Legal 500 and Chambers as experts) in contesting Wills.