A lot of clients ask me whether they are obliged to provide for their children in their Wills. The reasons for not wishing to do so are vast and could be because of a fall-out, because a child has an addition to drink or drugs that would be exacerbated by receiving an inheritance or it could simply be because the parent would prefer to leave their estate to charity.

In the case of Heather Ilott, a recent case which you may have heard about in the press, her mother Mrs Jackson left her entire estate to charity making no provision for her daughter at all. Mrs Jackson had also stipulated that she had done this deliberately and that she had never supported her daughter financially during her lifetime.

Despite this, Heather Ilott made a claim against the estate for ‘reasonable provision’ under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975. Her reason for making the claim was that she was on benefits and needed the money.

Heather Ilott was eventually awarded £50,000 but appealed the amount stating that it was not enough because it would substantially reduce her benefits and so equated to far less than the face-value of the award. It was also not sufficient to be enable her to buy a property for herself and her family.

Her appeal to have her £50,000 increased was refused.

This case shows that there are narrow circumstances where it cannot be guaranteed that adult children will be unable to make a claim on an estate after their parents have died.

Each case is based on individual circumstances however and if you are concerned about providing for your children or loved ones or would like more information about this case or how it affects you.

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