letter of wishes and reasonable financial provision

Thompson v Raggett: Letter of Wishes and Reasonable Financial Provision

The recent case of Thompson v Raggett & Ors [2018] EWHC 688 (Ch), concerned an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 will dispute, and the use of letters of wishes. An elderly lady applied for reasonable financial provision when her partner and cohabitee of 42 years failed to leave any provision for her in his will when he died, despite the fact that he had explained his reasons […]

What steps could be taken to prevent will disputes? We offer some reflections

The Benefit of Hindsight: What Could Have Been Done to Prevent Will Disputes

We look at some lessons from case law that may help prevent will disputes in the future. Making a will is an important step for you to take to ensure that you property will be distributed as far as possible according to your wishes when you die. Without an up to date will, property will either be distributed according to a previous will, which might not reflect your wishes, or […]

buying a house at market value can amount to reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act

Reasonable Provision: An Update on Lewis v Warner

An update on the case of Lewis v Warner – a case which looked at reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act, which was appealed recently to the Court of Appeal. Claiming Reasonable Financial Provision under the Inheritance Act 1975 Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, dependants of a deceased person can claim reasonable financial provision when the will does not adequately provide for them. We’ve […]

contesting wills

Contesting Wills: Five Things to Consider

Contesting wills is never something to be undertaken lightly. Consider these 5 issues before you decide what to do – and consider taking professional legal advice about your situation. Will you challenge the validity of the will, or just ask for reasonable financial provision?  Challenging the validity of a will can be done on the following grounds: When the will does not meet the requirements set out in the Wills […]

We look at whether an inheritance act claim survives the death of a claimant

Does An Inheritance Act Claim Die with the Claimant?

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows individuals challenging a will to apply to the courts for inheritance beyond that stated in the will. Although English law recognises the principle that people should be free to leave their property as they wish, the Inheritance Act recognises that family and dependants should be left with reasonable financial provision after the testator dies. A claim under the Inheritance Act […]

challenging a will may be the only way to achieve justice

Things to know before challenging a will!

Challenging a will can be a daunting undertaking. In this blog we’ve put together some useful information that can help you understand more about what it means. A ‘will’ is an important legal document A will is a legal document which is made by an individual before his or her death. It states how their property, including money, any property or land they own, and anything else, should be left […]

don't miss the time limit on Inheritance Act claims

Don’t Delay Bringing Inheritance Act Claims

The Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act allows the dependants of a deceased person to make claims for reasonable financial provision beyond that which they have been left in the will. Inheritance Act claims don’t question the validity of the will itself. The Inheritance Act specifically aims to help individuals who were dependent on the deceased person before they passed away, such as children, spouses and other financial dependants. […]

A question mark over the steps you should take if you're concerned about a will

Concerned about a will? 4 steps to take

You may feel helpless in the face of a will that has either disinherited you, or leaves you will very little. All this at a time when you are grieving for a relative or close friend and would have expected to be included in the will. The reality is that there are some steps you can take if you are concerned about a will, including registering a caveat and gathering […]

Does an adult child have to have a moral claim to succeed under the Inheritance Act?

The ‘moral claim’ of an adult child

Does an adult child have to have a ‘moral claim’ to part of a parent’s estate in order to succeed in a claim under the Inheritance Act? The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows an adult child to claim maintenance from the estate of a parent who has disinherited him entirely or left him only a small legacy. Whether the claim succeeds depends on the outcome of […]

Bruce Forsyth reportedly leaves everything to his wife to avoid Inheritance Tax and trusting that she will then distribute assets to his children and grandchildren

The trouble with Bruce Forsyth’s Will

The recent passing of Bruce Forsyth, legend of the British entertainment industry, might not be something you would expect to see on a blog about will disputes. He’s left an enormous fortune and has many children and grandchildren – but he has also left a will – so what’s the problem? What has caught our attention as contentious probate specialists is the suggestion that Mr Forsyth’s will leaves everything to […]

In Ball v Ball the court would not uphold a will dispute in which teh children had been abused by their father and the husband of the testatrix

Ball v Ball and will disputes following sexual abuse

In the recent case of Ball v Ball [2017] EWHC 1750 (Ch), the court had to deal with a will dispute which arose when the wife of an abuser disinherited 3 of the children who reported their father to the police. The impact of sexual abuse on a victim can last all their life. Even on the death of their abuser, they may continue to suffer. This is certainly the […]

In Nahajec, the Court awarded maintenance under the Inheritance Act for a daughter to pursue veterinary nurse studies

The Inheritance Act in action post-Ilott

A couple of weeks ago, we published a blog about testamentary freedom following Ilott v Blue Cross – and now we can report on what seems to be the first case decided under the Inheritance Act since the Ilott v Blue Cross decision. In the first judgement to look at the question of maintenance under the Inheritance Act for an estranged adult child since the landmark decision in Ilott v […]

if, in the sunset of your life, you try to make a deathbed gift, it may be challenged

The strict approach to the deathbed gift

‘Deathbed gifts’ are one of the limited exceptions to the general principle that on death, the property of the deceased should be disposed of according to either a written will, or the rules on intestacy. The courts have long recognised that the concept of the ‘deathbed gift’ is open to abuse. The case of Kenneth Paul King v The Chiltern Dog Rescue, Redwings Horse Sanctuary illustrates the strict approach that […]

Keeping your will up to date is important to make sure it reflects your personal circumstances at the time

Martin v Williams – when a will hasn’t been updated

The High Court has recently considered a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 in circumstances where the will left everything to the Testator’s wife, from whom he had been separated for many years, and nothing to his long term partner. We look at Martin v Williams [2017] EHWC 491 (Ch) . The Facts At the time of his death in 2012, Mr Martin had been separated from his wife, Maureen Martin, […]

The Supreme Court has upheld the principle of testamentary freedom and so if someone wishes to leave their estate to charity, such as in the case of Ilott v Mitson, adult children will find it hard to succeed under the Inheritance Act 1975

Gifts to charity – can they be challenged?

It’s not often that legal disputes over the contents of a will make the front pages – but a long running saga that has recently been concluded in the Supreme Court relating to gifts made to charity in a will at the expense of surviving children, has done just that. Challenging a will under the Inheritance Act 1975 As we’ve mentioned before, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) […]

picture of a kitten up a tree

Charities fight back to claim bequests

Later this month, the Supreme Court is set to consider provisions in the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 as charities seek to preserve their bequests following a ruling in favour of the testator’s estranged daughter. There have been a number of high profile news stories regarding will disputes and inheritance issues hitting the press recently. However, later this month, the Court of Appeal is set to consider […]

Lewis v Warner looks ta reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act where a common law spouse has his own independent means

Reasonable Financial Provision – Lewis v Warner

Can the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 help someone who is able to provide for themselves? We look at the case of Lewis v Warner, in which a common law partner who sought to purchase the house where he had lived for the last 20 years and avoid eviction by the sole beneficiary of his deceased partner’s will. The Facts The deceased had left her entire estate […]

image of the royal courts of justice London

Contesting Wills – the Practicalities

You may feel aggrieved by the provisions of a will – but what are the practicalities of contesting wills in the UK? In the wake of the death of a relative, a close friend, there are many things to contend with, not least your grief. Notwithstanding how difficult the weeks and months that follow, there are many practical steps that need to be taken when someone close to you has […]

piles of money to illustrate what is reasonable financial provision after teh case of Wooldridge v Wooldridge

Inheritance Act – reasonable financial provision

We look at what constitutes reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975  following the case of Wooldridge v Wooldridge The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the Inheritance Act) gives dependants a mechanism to claim ‘maintenance’ – beyond what they may already have been left under the will concerned – from the estate of the deceased. But what amounts to reasonable financial […]

black and white image of disappointed little boy sitting on steps

Left without an Inheritance? What can you do?

If you’ve been left without an inheritance, what options do you have to challenge a will? There have been a number of high profile examples of people challenging a will because they feel they feel cheated of their inheritance. Not only that, a number of high profile figures have announced that they will not be leaving an inheritance for their children: Anita Roddick of the Body Shop, cook and writer […]