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Will overturned by court of appeal ... AIBU to be surprised at this?

(100 Posts)
justwondering72 Tue 28-Jul-15 07:42:48

A report on a case where a daughter, who had been cut out of her mothers considerable estate, has been awarded 164,000£ by court of appeal. The mother, in her will, had clearly stated that she wanted all her estate to go to charity. The daughter was disinherited after running away to marry her partner aged 17. She was 54 when her mother died. She tried to reconcile with her mother, but did not succeed.

The article talks about how the daughter now has 5 children, and is broke. AIBU to think the daughter's current situation is irrelevant, legally speaking? And that the mother's wishes should have been adhered to, however unfair the daughter may feel she was being?

Northernlurker Tue 28-Jul-15 07:46:20

As I understand it, the particular issue here was that the mother's estate was based on what she inherited from her husband who died before the daughter was born. Therefore the sum at stake was effectively inheritance from both parents. What's been agreed by the court is that the daughter had a right to 'reasonable provision'. The fact that she has never been able to buy her home is given as evidence that she needs the 'reasonable provision'.
I think it's fair enough. The will was made to intentionally deprive her of 'expectations' because she hadn't behaved as the mother wanted. All she did was elope with a man she's still married to for heavens sake. I don't think the mother had a right to disinherit her from her father's estate because she didn't like her marital choice.

cariadlet Tue 28-Jul-15 07:47:54

YNBU. The person making the will has the right to do whatever they want with their money. I don't think courts should have the right to overturn wills unless there is evidence that the person making the will was coerced or not in a fit state of mind to make a will (eg was suffering from severe dementia).

I'm close to my parents and expect that they'll probably leave most of what they have to me and my sister. But I've always said (and honestly believe) that if they wanted to leave everything to the local cats home it would be fine with me. It's their money and they can do what they want with it.

BoyScout Tue 28-Jul-15 07:57:52

I was surprised too. The mother left a letter that was quite clear that she didn't want the daughter to inherit. Horrible for the daughter but it was her mother's money and up to her what she did with it.

cariadlet Tue 28-Jul-15 08:03:58

I hadn't heard of the case before opening this thread. I don't see why you should have to make "reasonable provision" for adult offspring. You should provide for children in a will, but adults should expect to provide for themselves.

btw I think it's petty to cut off your child because they married someone that you don't approve of. That sounds very Victorian. But I still think that anyone has the right to leave their money to whoever they want.

justwondering72 Tue 28-Jul-15 08:25:08

So do all children have a right to expect 'reasonable provision' to be made for them in a parents will? Or only those that find themselves in dire straits financially? If the daughter had managed to buy a house / make some money etc over the years (as many people do without help from parents) would she still have been able to make this case?

justwondering72 Tue 28-Jul-15 08:25:46

That q was to northern lurker btw:-)

diddl Tue 28-Jul-15 08:33:52

So if all the mum's money & property had been needed to fund her living in a care home, that would have been that, wouldn't it?

So where would the "reasonable provision" or restitution for never have been able buy a house be then?

It's quite usual for a spouse to inherit everything when the other dies, isn't it?

bangbangprettypretty Tue 28-Jul-15 08:40:45

I think the court's decision was right; the mother was effectively denying the daughter access to money from her father just to prove a point after her death.

If she had been in a care home and the money was gone, that would have been a different matter but given the daughter was disinherited she has a right to have it questioned. As I understand the law, had the father been around and also disapproved of the marriage the will would have stood.

canyou Tue 28-Jul-15 08:44:19

Did her father die without a will? I am thinking that may be why she was awarded the money from his share of what he bought into the marraige. All seems strange and very sad that a parent could be so unwilling to accept their DC life choices esp as those choices didn't hurt anyone

Dumdedumdedum Tue 28-Jul-15 08:44:53

When I heard the headline news earlier today, I thought it was a terrible violation of the mother's rights, if she was of sound mind when having made her will. Now, having read the facts, I am not so sure, as in these very particular circumstances, I am inclined to think along the same lines as the county court judgment in 2007, namely "that her mother had acted in an “unreasonable, capricious and harsh” way to her daughter." I think that in this case, it is right that the mother's will was overturned but I hope that a precedent is not set as a result.

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 28-Jul-15 08:47:34

I feel a bit mixed about this. On. The one hand I get that we should be able to leave our money to who we want.

On the other shouldn't we have some sort of family responsibility that goes each way i.e. Parent to child, child to parent, grandparent to grandchild etc. We're heading towards a social care catastrophe with our elderly folk remote from family, council services desperately overstretched and private ones too expensive for many, if they can be found.

If there is money in the family it seams wrong for society to pick up the whole tab for providing the assistance. Possibly the family needs to take some responsibility for the circumstance that the poor relative is in.

For example an absent father (thinking of you XH) who doesn't really provide for his DC, builds up assets then leaves it all to his new wife. Shouldn't there be some sort of claw back for the DC? Walking away and taking no responsibility for a life you've created seams very wrong.

Mulligrubs Tue 28-Jul-15 08:48:18

In this case the Court was correct IMO, as other posters have stated the issue is the mother's estate was made up of her dead father's money which the mother was effectively witholding from her daughter. She got nothing when her father died and the Court decided she should have been provided for from his estate so the mother witholding it was wrong. So a portion of her estate was given to the daughter. The daughter got her father's money from her mother, it was not her mother's money.

OllyBJolly Tue 28-Jul-15 08:48:21

I believe it's the case in Scotland that you can't disinherit a spouse or children. (although you can restrict what is inherited)

diddl Tue 28-Jul-15 08:51:11

"Lord Justice Ryder and Sir Colin Rimer agreed that the award to Ilott was fair in light of her straitened circumstances and basic human needs."

So if she wasn't in financial straits then she wouldn't have got anything??

diddl Tue 28-Jul-15 08:54:24

"The daughter got her father's money from her mother, it was not her mother's money."

I understand that too.

But also it did become the mother's money when the father died, as in she had access & could have spent it how she wanted.

And then when she dies, it's no longer considered her money!

xenu1 Tue 28-Jul-15 08:56:11

Ah. Thanks mulligrubs and others for the explanation. My original thought (and I still suspect some of it) is that the law is designed to provide gainful employment for lawyers, so the Appeal Judges ruled that any will, however clear, could be challenged. Ka-ching! (Jarndyce vs Jarndyance anyone?)
(after, private schools etc are very expensive now and pupillage still unpaid - how can barristers keep their privilege without new sources of revenue?)

LazyLohan Tue 28-Jul-15 08:57:19

Personally I find it a bit more frustrating that the RSPCA chooses to drag these cases through court rather than settling reasonably in advance. They really are grasping.

bestguess23 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:01:26

The mother was also passing on the father's estate so of course the daughter had a right to claim on it. If the father died intestate and didn't leave any clear instructions then it should be assumed that some of his portion should be passed on through the line of intestacy. A will is an outline of your wishes, in the event of your death it does not have to be followed if courts believe it was unfair and people have not been 'provided for'. So yes, in response to pp the 'provided for' aspect is one of the most commonly used challenges. At 18 I used it to overturn my father's will, slightly different as I was younger. Where a will is made in malice courts should have a right to ensure the will, rather than the state, provides for those in the line of inheritance.

justwondering72 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:02:03

that was what prompted my post diddl, that focus on the daughter's current financial situation. Seems to imply that it's the parents fault that she's 54 and in financially dire straits.

Btw I agree that the mothers actions were harsh and unreasonable.

bestguess23 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:03:20

Sorry, it took me a while to write that so majorly x-posted

OrangeVase Tue 28-Jul-15 09:03:48

MisForMumNotMaid - I agree with your thinking here. At the moment it seems as if the default "carer" is society and there are certainly cases where the provision in a will could help to alleviate that.

I believe in Italy that you cannot disinherit children either - although I just heard that from an Italian colleague so not sure of facts.

I don't know the law well enough but I think that it is quite tricky to leave something to one person whilst retaining some control over it. So if X were to die and leave everything to DP as DC still young-ish. DP could leave everything to new spouse/cats home/new child leaving X's children with nothing. Trusts are complicated and don't work in all situations and "life interests" not flexible. I have known several adult children who have received nothing from a dead parent because it has gone somewhere else via a spouse. It looks as though this decision was an attempt to rectify this in some way.

maresedotes Tue 28-Jul-15 09:04:47

YANBU. I think if you are of sound mind you should be able to leave your estate to whoever you like. The mother may have disapproved of her daughter's decisions (although I think rejecting your only child at 17 is harsh). What would happen in future cases if you disinherit your child due to drug addiction etc.? Would they then be allowed to inherit?

bestguess23 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:05:36

The estate is still considered to be made up of two parts even though the mother had already inherited. It has two (or double) nil rate bands for inheritance tax, which can be claimed on the mother's death.

OrangeVase Tue 28-Jul-15 09:08:36

Also slow typist and X-posted. Sorry

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