In August 2015, we reported on a case in which a daughter had been estranged from her mother for a number of years and the mother had decided to gift her estate to charity when she died.
The Court of Appeal eventually decided that the mother had not adequately provided for her daughter, and so awarded the daughter £143,000 to enable her to buy a new home:
The Supreme Court has now overturned that decision.
However, this does not mean that a disgruntled family member cannot make a claim against your estate when you die.
All that can be said is that it might be more difficult for a disgruntled family member to successfully claim from your estate. Even if such a claim was unsuccessful, there would still be added stress, time-delays and cost in having to defend even the most spurious of claims.
As we explained in our original article, we have a wealth of experience of both preparing Wills that do not benefit all family members equally, and also administering estates where there are disgruntled family members who are unhappy with their share of the estate.
This experience has shown us that there are ways in which you can virtually guarantee that your Will is accepted by all when you die, and that disgruntled family members are never given the opportunity to have their day in Court.
Ultimately, it is a case of taking the extra time now to make use of every tool available to you, so that when you die your intended beneficiaries do not have to endure a lengthy and costly Court battle.
If you think there may be family members who might be unhappy with the way in which you have prepared your Will (or are thinking of preparing a Will), please contact a member of our Wealth Management Team to discuss ways in which you can avoid your Will being challenged when you die.