Disputed Wills: Your rights if you have been excluded

Written by: Keoghs Solicitors

Date: 23rd February 2015

Our Disputed Wills team have accepted instructions from an adult child who found out on her mother’s death that she had been cut out of her Will. The Deceased left the bulk of her estate to our client’s estranged son in a Will made not long before her death.

Our expert team are now advising our client as to the merits of a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

Many people believe when making a Will that they can leave their assets however and to whomever they like, which is the case most of the time. But, where an adult child may require their inheritance for maintenance, for example if they have fallen on hard economic times, then they will have good grounds for a claim against the estate if reasonable financial provision is not made for them.

The Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of Ilott v Mitson & Others [2011] EWCA Civ 346, confirmed that an adult child does not have to establish a “moral obligation”, allowing claims to be advanced by adult children who sadly may not have enjoyed a good relationship with the parent during their lifetime.

The case also raises issues of potential undue influence over the Deceased. Even if the Deceased possessed what is known as testamentary capacity, i.e. the required soundness of mind and body to make a Will, the Will may still be invalid if it can be established that it was made whilst another person took advantage of a position of power over her.

Such claims must be brought within six months of a grant of probate being issued and so claimants must seek legal advice quickly. If you wish to discuss your case with our expert team please contact us on 0161 928 9321.