A recent case of where an adult child was not provided any inheritance in their mother’s will highlights the fact that an adult child has as much right as any other applicant to make a claim under the Inheritance act.
The Act (or Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 to give it its full name) provides spouses, former spouses and children, amongst others, with the right to claim payments from the deceased’s estate on a monthly or capital basis. While the act is usually based on applicants who were being maintained by the deceased at the date of death, this should not discourage other applicants in circumstances where this was not necessarily the case but nevertheless the deceased has left no provision for them in their will.
In this recent case (Ilott v Mitson ), Mrs Ilott’s mother’s will left her entire estate (valued at £486,000) to three charities. Mrs Ilott, who was estranged from her mother and in underprivileged circumstances, mounted a legal challenge to the will and was awarded a lump sum of £50,000.00 at first instance. However, she appealed feeling that she should be awarded more resulting in the charities cross-appealing. The Court of Appeal then initially dismissed her claim leading to two further appeals which eventually resulted in the final decision made by the Court of Appeal.
This decision awarded Mrs Ilott around a third of her mother’s estate (circa £160,000) so she could purchase a house.
While an adult child has always been able to make a claim under the Act, this decision will probably serve to encourage adult children to make a claim particular if they are of limited means as Mrs Ilott was.