In this landmark ruling it was decided that Mrs Jackson’s will could be overturned in favour of her estranged daughter Heather Ilott even though she had written an accompanying letter stating that she did not want her daughter to receive an inheritance. In total Heather Ilott will receive £160,000 of her mother’s estate after an 8 year legal battle. The outcome from this case could have an affect on other wills and how they are drawn up.
Solicitors will have to outline why clients are leaving money to some and not others, although this case is being viewed as a special case it is a cause for concern. It appears to give the courts the option of changing an individual’s wishes because they feel it is unfair. To stop this from happening it seems that when preparing a will it needs to be stated that you are disinheriting your children and more importantly why. If you are concerned by this and would like your will to be reviewed by one of our will and probate expert solicitors in St Helens please get in touch.
In this case Mrs Jackson became estranged from her daughter when she married her boyfriend aged 17; they never reconciled their relationship. Mrs Jackson advised her executors to fight any claim her daughter may have and in spite of this she still received a portion of the estate. It is common practice for some families to contest wills and wills have been overturned in the past especially if it can be proven not valid. Mrs Ilott argued a case which was good enough to have the will changed as she is a mother of five and was struggling for money. The judge ruled the will was unfair leaving her daughter without money and that this money was also part of her father’s estate. Mrs Ilott argued during the appeal that she couldn’t afford clothes or food for her children and that she tried on many occasions to reconcile with her mother.
Disputes over wills and trusts have trebled over the last few years as there appears to be more people leaving more assets and more people divorcing creating complex family situations. According to The Telegraph (2) you can leave your estate to anyone you like although under the same law a will can be challenged. Clearly it is necessary to have legal experts on your side to ensure that your wishes are carried out. At Forster Dean Solicitors in St Helens our team of will and probate solicitors have a wealth of experience and will be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss any concerns you may have about your will.