Following a recent post, I refer again to the headline case of Heather Ilott, the Court of Appeal ruling in her favour despite her mother’s attempt to disinherit her in place of 3 charities.
There have been differing views within the profession as to whether this case constitutes a “ground-breaking” decision or will open the floodgates to successful challenges, but what I want to address is what this means for every individual making a Will.
Firstly, the case reminds us that there is to some extent a limit on testamentary freedom in this country, not through forced heir-ship as in many other EU states, but through statute, namely the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.
Secondly, this case will, I am sure, at least clarify that it is not through sheer nosiness that I ask about family ground, any financial dependants and any potential expectations of inheritance – but to try to ensure that the Will, as far as is possible, reflect the testator’s wishes and is protected from successful challenge.
I would therefore also say this is one of the key reasons why professional advice should be sought in making a Will: a “DIY”, online or even CAB Will is unlikely review a client’s entire circumstances and background with an understanding of the relevant legislation.
In summary: Good advice in relation to the Will includes recognising any potential claims to which a testator ought to give effect and so I would encourage everyone to invest in a professionally drawn Will.
Feel free to contact Giles Wilson's Wills, Trusts & Probate team - we're happy to talk you through any issue you're having during a free, no obligation 30-minute consultation.