The recent Court of Appeal case of Ilott vs Mitson has left many people wondering why they should bother making a Will, when the Court can decide to ignore a person’s express wishes.
To an extent, the Court have always had the power to override Wills. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 certain people have the ability to make a claim against an estate, if they can show that reasonable financial provision has not been made for them.
Mrs Jackson made a Will leaving her entire estate to animal charities, disinheriting her daughter, from whom she had been estranged for many years. Mrs Jackson’s daughter, Mrs Iliott, was financially dependent on State Benefits and did not own her own property.
The success, or failure, of these claims is determined by considering a range of factors which include: the size and nature of the estate, the financial resources and needs of both the claimant and the beneficiaries of the Will and the connection between the deceased and both the claimant and beneficiaries.
The key factors in this case were Mrs Iliot’s limited financial circumstances and her dependence on the State combined with the fact that her mother had no genuine connection to the animal charities that she chose as her beneficiaries. This has left legal experts suggesting that, had there been a connection between Mrs Jackson and the animal charities, Ms Ilott’s claim would not have been successful.
So why bother to make a Will? A Will is still the only way to make your wishes known and is the best way to protect those you leave behind.
For more information about the steps that you can take to increase the likelihood that your wishes are carried out, contact Hine Solicitors and book an appointment to see one of our friendly and professional solicitors for advice and guidance.