The Court of Appeal’s judgement in Ilott and Mitson (2015) EWCA Civ 797 may encourage adult children to challenge wills where they consider their parents have not made reasonable provision for them.
Melita Jackson had left an estate worth £486,000 to the RSPCA and Blue Cross charities after her death in 2004. Her daughter Heather Ilott now 54 challenged the will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Heather and her mother were estranged after she left home at the age of 17 with a boyfriend and she had been excluded from the will. Mrs Jackson made it clear that her daughter should inherit nothing.
The court determined that she was not given a reasonable provision from the estate and awarded her £163,000 to buy her home and provide future maintenance.
This ruling means people can still disinherit their children but they will have to have a good reason why. Adult children who have been left out of wills may find it easier to challenge them if they have not been left a reasonable provision.