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Recent reports suggest that there has been a rise in the number of people who are contesting Wills, especially where substantial sums are being left to charity. It is a presumption that we have the right to decide who should inherit our estate after we die through the execution of a Will, however, this is not always the case.

This is highlighted in the controversial case of Ilott v Mitson . Here, Mrs Jackson had left her entire estate to three animal charities. She did not include her daughter, Mrs Ilott, from whom she had been estranged for more than 20years. Mrs Ilott applied to the court to challenge the Will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on the basis that the Will did not make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for her. She was eventually awarded one third of the estate. The animal charities have appealed this decision and await the final judgement to obtain clarity on the courts powers to intervene with a person’s Will.

This landmark case has raised many questions about the ability to disinherit children and the powers of the court to intervene. Whilst cases of this nature are very fact specific, it has arguably strengthened the ability for adult children to challenge their parent’s Will if they believe that they have not been reasonably provided for.

There are many reasons why people want to make differing provisions for members of their family and it is therefore important to ensure that you seek professional advice.

At Ramsdens we have an experienced private client team who can advise you on your Will and the implications of disinheriting family members. If you wish to speak to one of our team then call us today free on 0800 988 3650, text LAW to 67777 or email us at to book a free information meeting.