Can my estranged child claim from my estate after my death?
English law in general allows people to dispose of their assets after death as they wish. The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 gives certain people a right to make a claim for reasonable provision from the testator’s estate after they have died. The consideration of such claims should be carefully dealt with when you are making your will. The legislation is quite complicated and strict time limits apply (an application usually has to be made within 6 months of the Grant of Probate), but it is possible for adult children excluded from a will to make a claim for ‘reasonable financial provision’ for their maintenance. The leading case in this area of law dates from 2017 [Ilott vs The Blue Cross and others] when the court confirmed an earlier decision of the county court to award £50,000 to Mrs Ilott (who was by now in her 50s) and who had been estranged from her mother for nearly 40 years. Mrs Ilott’s mother felt that she had no moral or financial obligation towards her daughter and therefore made no provision for her in her will. The mother’s estate was valued at just under £500,000.
Each case is different and would be decided on its particular facts but careful consideration of the provisions of your will can help prevent claims being made in the future. Similarly, if you think you have been left out of a will unfairly then our dispute resolution team will be able to advise you.