Who Determines Who Inherits Your Estate?

A recent case will cause concern to anyone who has a specific wish that their estate should not pass to certain people. It involved a woman who left an estate of more than £400,000, which she had bequeathed to various animal charities.

The woman had a daughter, from whom she had been estranged for more than 25 years. She left a letter explaining exactly why she did not want her daughter to benefit under her will.

The daughter, who had not had any form of support from her mother since the estrangement, sought a share of the estate by making a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which was introduced to grant relief to those who are dependent on a person who dies without making reasonable provision for them.

The Court of Appeal accepted the daughter’s claim, apparently on the ground that she was not well off and was a deserving case. So, despite her mother’s specific wish, she stands to inherit such sum as the court will later determine is ‘reasonable provision’.

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