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The Rise of Inheritance Claims Continues

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

 As has recently been reported, The UK’s highest court is to hear the Ilott case that may help clarify the law around wills for grown-up children who feel they have not been provided for.

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide the case of Heather Ilott, who was awarded about one-third of her late mother’s £486,000 estate by a lower court despite instructions given by her mother, Melita Jackson, who left the money to three animal charities.

Note, that Ms Ilott did not get the whole lot, so one should not get totally obsessed with this case.

Unsurprisingly it is the charities who are appealing as they get scared of not only losing the case but more are concerned about the possible implications for obtaining legacies in the future.

More legal challenges are being brought under the 1975 Inheritance Act, which provides that “reasonable financial provision” must be made in a parent’s will for the “maintenance” of child — a definition increasingly being applied to adult offspring.

Why is there so much at stake?

Rising property prices and second marriages have prompted an increase in disputes with more at financial stake and more people potentially involved.

According to Ministry of Justice figures, the High Court heard 178 probate disputes in 2014, almost double the total of 97 in 2013, and the highest level in England and Wales since 2007.

The level of claims is going to keep rising and it will be very interesting if the Courts will be able to give some clarity on this. 

Frankly, I am not sure how much difference Ilott will make apart from bringing will disputes into the news.