If you leave your entire estate to charities, will you be turning in your grave if disinherited relatives mount a challenge to break your last will and testament, and succeed?
In a 2015 case heard by the Court of Appeal, a disinherited daughter challenged her deceased mother’s Will.
The background to the case is illuminating. The daughter had not been in touch with her mother since she left home at age 17, some 26 years prior to her mother’s death. The mother had made no provision for her daughter in her Will and left the majority of her estate to animal charities.
Aggrieved, the daughter brought a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. After many court appearances and appeals, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the daughter is entitled to share in approximately a third of her mother’s estate. It should also be pointed out that the daughter’s financial circumstances were somewhat straitened.
The charities that stand to lose out in this process are making a further appeal to the Supreme Court…
The Courts, therefore, have the power to over-rule the testamentary wishes of a deceased person if it feels that the needs of relatives prevail over and above the needs of non-related beneficiaries.