Want to disown a black sheep in your family?

Want to disown a black sheep in your family?

Want to disown a black sheep in your family?

by | Uncategorised

For some families, feuds and disputes may fracture them apart, never to be reunited. In these difficult circumstances, you may choose to disinherit a family member.

The main statute that still governs will writing is the Wills Act of 1837. ‘A legal declaration of an individual’s intentions as to how he or she wishes to dispose of their property after death’, a will must still take the form as prescribed in Section 9 of this Act. And until the recent well publicised case of Ilot v Mitson, a disinheritance by will was conceivable – providing doing so was not in contravention of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

The I(PFD)A 1975 was designed to ensure that those supported by you in life would continue to be supported after your death, if there was sufficient wealth to do so, and prevent a burden to the state. The Act was designed to protect minors but it does not prevent adult children for bringing a claim.

The landmark case grabbing the headlines concerns Mrs Jackson, the deceased, who had been estranged from her daughter for 26 years. Her will reading revealed her estate was to be distributed between 3 animal charities and it would seem she had no intention of leaving anything to her daughter. Her daughter, Heather Ilot was living on benefits so bought a claim for reasonable financial provision.

She was awarded £50,000 by family court in 2007. But charities are notoriously persistent in pursuing legacies and the case has gone through a series of appeals with the award repealed and increased. Rulings have been debated and analysed across the legal profession and the case has now reached the Supreme Court, with a ruling pending.

One can only imagine the costs this long running suit has incurred and there is still a legal question to be resolved regards the deceased responsibility to dependents of any age. If you are planning to disinherit someone who could be considered a dependent, take advice, consider the consequences on those you do wish to inherit and write a will that will serve them best.

Disclaimer: Wills Worldwide is not licensed or qualified to give tax advice. This article is intended for information only and does not constitute tax advice. If you are in any doubt about your tax status, please contact a qualified professional.

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