Will claim Solicitors, specialist no win no fee will dispute and will contest Solicitors, discuss whether an adult child in a financial provision claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 can ever get over fifty percent of the deceased’s estate

Claims by adult children for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”)

Adult children are very commonly the least favoured applicants for financial provision in Will dispute and/or Will contest claims where an application is being made against a near relatives (usually their parent’s) estate; in fact their claims are more often than not vigorously defended. The simple explanation for this is that they have (very generally) been completely independent (of their deceased parents) for many years and with no sign of that changing imminently. Our previous blog here, refers:

Winnable Claims Under the Inheritance Act 1975 by Adult Children – Will Claim Solicitors 

The Act is not of course designed to overturn the foundation of English and Welsh law that one can (very generally) make a Will and leave one’s estate to whomsoever it is decided should be favoured and notwithstanding that there might be a wife to consider and/or minor (or adult) children. In Ilott v Mitson [20170 UKSC 17: 

Ilott v The Blue Cross & Ors [2017] UKSC 17 (15 March 2017) (

this was very much at the forefront of their Lordships minds in relation to this particular decision which is the leading case in this area of law. As per Lord Hughes (paragraph 1): 

Unlike some other systems, English law recognises the freedom of individuals to dispose of their assets by will after death in whatever manner they wish. There are default succession rules in the event of intestacy, but by definition those only come into play if the deceased left no will. Otherwise the law knows of no rule of automatic succession or forced heirship. To this general rule, the statutory system of family provision imposes a qualification. It has provided since 1938 for the court to have power in defined circumstances to modify either the will or the intestacy rules if satisfied that they do not make reasonable financial provision for a limited class of persons. That power was first introduced by the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1938 (“the 1938 Act”). The present statute is the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”). 

Artificially limiting claims for financial provision under the Act 

For a short period of time, this appeared (in the minds of practitioners at least) to limit claims by adult children; in fact given the Supreme Court in Ilott upheld the first instance award of what amounted to 11% of the estate, it was determined by many that this was the maximum an adult child could expect to receive in relation to a financial provision claim. Not so. In fact and in addition, prior to Ilott the courts had also attempted to artificially limit the scope of adult child financial provision claims to those where it could be established the deceased parent had some form of moral obligation to provide.

Various cases and the Act itself undermined this approach. The Act states at s. 1(2)(b) that financial provision (for an adult child) means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his maintenance. There was no limit on the size of the award (except that it should be “reasonable”) and certainly no requirement for a “moral” element to be able to establish the claim.  

Fennessy v Turner [2022] WTLR 1285

In Fennessy the court (Leeds County Court – Mr Recorder Cameron – upheld on appeal to the High Court) drove a coach and horses through assumptions limiting the size of the potential award to adult child claimants as well as reiterating there was no need to establish a moral claim to succeed. The estate was relatively limited at just £336,089.00 (net) and whilst the claimant had been one of the deceased’s two children, his sister had predeceased. He was awarded over 50% of the estate with the award comprising: 

– £40,000.00 in respect of an income deficit 
– £120,000.00 to permit the claimant to rent for the next 10 years 
– £17,500.00 to allow for the purchase of furniture and white goods 
– a sum for his Solicitors success fee (they were instructed under a no win no fee agreement) 

Moreover, Mr Recorder Cameron found: 

1. these claims need to be resolved on a case by case basis and that the level of maintenance falls to be assessed on the facts of each case; 
2. “maintenance” means payments which, directly or indirectly, enable the applicant in the future to discharge the cost of his daily living at whatever standard of living is appropriate to him [thus this does not need to be limited to a subsistence standard]
3. there is no need to establish a moral claim. 

If you consider any of these facts and matters are of interest, are likely to apply to you, or you would like to ask us for more information about our no win no fee arrangement, or you simply want us to assess your claim, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential no strings chat and/or visit us at  

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