Wills – Heather Ilott – a successful claim against her late mother’s estate
Whilst you can leave your estate to whomever you wish in your Will, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 provides certain people with the right to challenge this.
Until now, this law has generally sought to provide a fair remedy for those whom ought to have been provided for – such as widow(er)s, cohabitees, or financial dependants.
It has always been difficult for an adult child to bring a successful claim – there usually needs to be some exceptional circumstances. Heather Ilott’s mother died in 2004 and in a string of Court hearings, Mrs Ilott brought a successful claim, then lost, then won, and subsequently there were further hearings about the value of her claim, with the Court of Appeal recently awarding Mrs Ilott a third of the estate – significantly more than before.
This increased award will encourage more claims by adult children who have been left out of a parent’s Will.