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Claims by disappointed children seeking a share, or a larger share, of a parental estate are on the rise, with the latest figures published showing a year-on-year increase of more than 10 per cent in such claims.
Although a widely reported case (Ilott v Mitson) – in which the disinherited daughter of a woman successfully claimed for provision out of her estate – may have been partly responsible for the uptick, it should be borne in mind that the outcomes of such cases are highly fact specific and also that that case is headed for the Supreme Court.
In another recent case, the Central London County Court dismissed a claim by the daughter of a man who left his £700,000 estate entirely to his second wife. The daughter claimed that she and her children are dependent on her partner, as she does not work. She launched a claim for financial provision to be made for her and her children under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
The court ruled that the estate was insufficient to support both the man's widow (who is elderly and ill) and his daughter. It seemed to the judge that the daughter's lack of work was a 'lifestyle choice' and she had failed to prove any need for provision from the estate. Accordingly, her claim was rejected.