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Perfidious Porpoise
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:18
Not seeing why she even deserves the 50k.
sad banta
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:21
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I agree with PP. Reasonable provision here is nil.
🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:22
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Well indeed.
Bright Carver
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:24
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Beyond children under the age of majority and/or good evidence of incapacity/deception/whatever, I don't see why the courts should have power to re-assign bequests post-death for 'reasonable provision' stuff at all.

If the deceased had capacity and made clear their wishes then, subject to the above, that should be it, honoured and enforced.

---

"When Melita Jackson died in 2004 she made it crystal clear she didn't want her estranged daughter, Heather Ilott to benefit, and so left her £500,000 estate to three animal charities, with which she had no real connection.

Before her death in 2004, Mrs Jackson wrote in a letter to lawyers: "I can see no reason why my daughter should benefit in any way from my estate. I have made it clear to my daughter... that she can expect no inheritance from me when I die."
Likes to eat cheeseburgers
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:24
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Why should the state (i.e. taxpayers) pick up the tab?

Not a case of 'deserving' - a case of reducing yet more burden on the taxpayer.

Bobbie-Fleckmann
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:27
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whatt PP said. I think the Appeal decision was based on the fact that it was better for the mother's estate / th animal charity legatees to bear her expenses than it was for the public purse to do so but on quite which legal basis, i do not know.
The initial £50k is still puzzling given she hadn't had any maintenance / expectation of it from teh mother for several decades prior to the mother's demise
🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:30
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It's all a bit Denning...
Bobbie-Fleckmann
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:31
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also - has the entire estate evaporated on costs of all this action anyway?
sad banta
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:34
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If she had given all her estate away before her death, would there have been any power for the court to intervene ?
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:37
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I will read the full UKSC judgment with interest, but my initial reaction is that this is yet another example of very restrictive interpretation placed on the 1975 Act by a judiciary whose mindset is to defend testamentary freedom and frustrate the intention of Parliament. Given how liberal and progressive the judiciary is in other areas this approach seems ultra conservative.

I thought the key issue in this appeal was about the meaning of "maintenance" but we shall see how that went.

As for the Charities
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:37
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I don't agree with it.

She was not depending on the parent at date of death.
If we have a new rule that a parent who disinherits an adult child who is or might go on benefits will have their wishes changed after death that is very unfair on the adult children who have jobs surely and open to abuse.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:42
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I'm guessing that L1-L5 might have zero inheritance expectations. Harsh.

🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:44
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Isn't Lydia's intention to give it all away to them during her lifetime so as to avoid paying the evil which is inheritance tax?
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:46
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The Court of Appeal were of the view that £50k on its own doesn't really help out the claimant as it isn't enough to buy a house and she will just end up back on state benefits once she gets below the capital threshold.

They awarded her enough cash for her to buy her council house on the basis that the judge at first instance had erred in not taking into account the effect that the award of money would have on her state benefits and on limiting her award given her lack of expectancy to any money.

The Supreme Court is basically saying that the DJ did not err in applying the rules so we go back to the £50k awarded at first instance. Not all the way through the judgement yet but importantly they reject the Court of Appeal suggestion that dependence on benefits should increase a claimant's entitlement.


sporting_zucchini
Posted - 15 March 2017 11:57
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The moral issue (not legal) is whether a spiteful and vindictive mother should have absolute freedom to disinherit her daughter simply because she disapproved of her daughter's choice of husband. That was the cause of the estrangement. Whether any weight should be attached to a "letter of wishes" whose motive is morally repugnant is debateable.

🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:03
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That's the question and I know where I stand on it.
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:05
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buzz is on the ball here. I started with the older 3 children. I have no savings at the moment, less even than the 3 boys.... Then it will be Ls 4 and 5. That will leave the house. Given I've about 30 years until death I then just need to do the 7 year estimate following IHT law closely over that period of course.... and then die penniless and yes I want the children to inherit all 5 equally no matter their situation. If there were a new live in boyfriend I don't want him to get a penny.

Most of us accept teh English law current rules. The French require children to get something which is why if you buy a holiday home in France you need a separate French will and they don't have the large landed estates and instead you might get 50 people owning a tiny bit of something you choose to buy over there.

As there is no right to inherit it can't be legally wrong not to leave anything to children. Plenty of socialist peopkle in the UK believe in 100% IHT anyway so it's not as if we have a society with an ethos that children should get something. Another group in the UK mulsims believe in different inheritance base don if you have a penis or not - not sure what they do with trans people but perhaps the Koran or hadiths have the answers to that one.
Pinkus
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:05
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The old gal is dead, so presumably she doesn't care any more.

Human need > animal need.
Heffalump
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:06
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Glad to see Hugh Cumber acting for the winning side

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2017/17.html
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:06
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Actually hindus too have male/female differences (and indeed for titles the British aristocracy).

So the leaving it up to the person rule but if they leave babies or a disabled adult child or a younger wife who is so weak she is unable to get a job even in a shoe shop to keep herself then they can apply to court under the 1975 Act.
Gravitas? What Gravitas?
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:10
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and indeed Wright Hassall on the losing
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:12
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I suppose I should read the judgment but not sure I have time.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:15
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'The French require children to get something which is why if you buy a holiday
home in France you need a separate French will and they don't have the large landed estates and instead you might get 50 people owning a tiny bit of something you choose to buy over there'

Just in case any of you are in any doubt, this advice in incorrect:

http://www.step.org/sites/default/files/Policy/Succession_Regulation_FAQs.pdf
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:16
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Lydia's advice I mean, not Mr Frimston
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:18
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Actually it's quite interesting - this point that giving money to peple then means they are worse off as benefits cease is one aspect (one reason some parents with one disabled child and some not will actively not give money to the disabled one after death as it ruins their benefits provision)...

"The treatment of benefits by the Court of Appeal at its para 60, cited above, might raise difficulty if taken literally. The court clearly cannot have meant that dependence on benefits increases the claimant’s needs, as disability is likely to do. In some circumstances, different from those of the present case, receipt of state support greater than the testator could sensibly provide may be an understandable reason why it was reasonable for the deceased not to make financial provision for the claimant - see for example the observations of Stamp J in In re E, deceased [1966] 1 WLR 709 at 715C. More generally, benefits are part of the resources of the claimant, and it is relevant to consider whether they will continue to be received. The court must have meant that, at least if they are means tested, receipt of them is likely to be a very relevant indication of her financial position."
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:20
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Disposal

48. For all these reasons, the appeal of the charities should be allowed. The order of the Court of Appeal should be set aside and the order of the District Judge restored. This court was told that this appeal was brought by the charities largely on principle because of the possible impact of the decision below on other cases, and that some arrangement has been arrived at between these parties in the event that the appeal succeeded. Given the very protracted nature of these proceedings, that is clearly likely to have been sensible, but the court has rightly not been concerned with its details, and it has no relevance to the order now made.

So she was originally given £50k (CA gave her £160k) and Supreme court puts it back to £50k. I agree with the Supreme court and high court here. Basically they are respecting on the whole the original testator's wishes. I will look at Hale now...
Ukiyo-e
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:21
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The English slowly catch up with people in less barbaric jurisdictions
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:22
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Or, to put it another way, what I said half an hour ago.
🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:24
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How are they respecting the testaTRIX's wishes if they award her 50k as opposed to the testaTRIX's desire to give her the keys to fork hall? Am I missing something here?
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:26
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Hale ... ends "I have written this judgment only to demonstrate what, in my view, is the unsatisfactory state of the present law, giving as it does no guidance as to the factors to be taken into account in deciding whether an adult child is deserving or undeserving of reasonable maintenance. I regret that the Law Commission did not reconsider the fundamental principles underlying such claims when last they dealt with this topic in 2011."

It certainly is not very clear but at least the general principle that you can largely leave your wealth as you choose is being largely respected.

It is interesting that in Scotland there is an obligation to support adult children to age 25 I think (and Cameron moved us in England a bit towards that with state benefits and under 25s and although even back 30 years ago there was no obligation to support adult children even if failure to make their university grant up to the full grant was not from lack of funds... In Germany adult children may have to contribute to parents' care home costs and we have such a huge burden at present on state finances that perhaps we have to move to family members having legal obligations to support other family members. Currently of course spouses in marriage have to both for the spouse and for the children and sometimes after divorce and when unmarried couples part may have to support children.
B'A'M
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:27
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remember when that spy guy was killed and put in a case.

Loopy-Lou
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:34
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Lydia - not only that, but in Scotland you can make a claim for legal rights for one third or one half of an estate, even if there is a will.
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:34
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^when I say "you", I mean the children (of any age) or spouse
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:47
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"in deciding whether an adult child is deserving or undeserving of reasonable maintenance"

... and that, dear readers, is where the judiciary keep going back to Victorian tests of deserving or non-deserving adult claimants. That isn't how Parliament intended the 1975 Act to work.

There should not be any question whether the claimant adult child "is deserving or undeserving of reasonable maintenance" but simply whether reasonable provision was made in the will for the maintenance of that adult child.

I agree that lack of guidance allows the conservative judiciary to give a restrictively narrow interpretation to this Section, and there seems to be an underlying attitude that the scope of "maintenance" that is reasonable depends on the social class of the claimant and the lifestyle that such class of adult person is entitled to have, but there is NO test in the Act on the basis of "deserving or undeserving" of reasonable maintenance. They just cannot stop getting this basic stuff wrong again and again. A regressive not progressive mindset. So annoying.





(other than spouses whose treatment is similar to that in the area of financial provision on divorce)
sad banta
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:50
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Hi sporting, as you know what you're talking about, please can you answer my question upthread: would the courts have any power to intervene if the old bat had given everything away to charity shortly before her death ?
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:55
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Sad Banta - yes, s.10 IA 1975 allows the court to intervene if the gift is within 6 years of the date of death.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 12:55
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6 years prior to the date of death, obvs
🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 13:05
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Though unlikely to be relevant in Lyd's case where the beneficiaries of any such gift will be those who would be the same beneficiaries under a will.
sad banta
Posted - 15 March 2017 13:05
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Thanks TDB.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 15 March 2017 13:13
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@ sad banta, as TDB said, but in any case giving all your munny and house to animal charities and becoming homeless and destitute might open the door to other legal claims against the charities for taking advantage of an elderly vulnerable person who was probably not of sound mind

and if you needed care provision the LA would regard it as intentional deprivation of assets and chase it too
Clergs (!)
Posted - 15 March 2017 16:41
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I thought in Scotland it aws 1/3 of the moveable estate only (so you could get around it by disposing of all yr moveables)?
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 15 March 2017 16:47
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clergs - probably! tbh I wasn't really listening to what the lawyer told me.
Clergs (!)
Posted - 15 March 2017 16:52
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it is literally the only thing I remember from family law

it's weird that I passed that exam
Back to Cyprian :)
Posted - 15 March 2017 17:01
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*BANG BANG BANG*

Clerghz - Ooch, mummy, whotz thaaa noise?

Clerghzmum - Dinnae worry, lass - Am nailin' doon mah moveables fer ta disinherit ya, ye wayward wayn!
Clergs (!)
Posted - 15 March 2017 17:05
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heh
minkie
Posted - 15 March 2017 17:44
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I heard on the radio this morning that the daughter had already been given the £160k lr whatever it was she was awarded on appeal and has soent it on a shared ownership house. So somehow she will have to pay this £90k back to the charoties.

They are animal charoties. So not going to be very "charitable" towards the daughter. She is married with 5 kids.

Lyds you need to be careful about your iht planning. You often say you wish to live in your house until you die, you cant do that and escape iht by giving it away to kids but continue to live in it without payaing rent...
🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 17:54
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Minkie if you read para 48 of the judgment as posted by Lyds, she probably won't need to pay anything back as they appear to have agreed that she wouldn't and this was purely brought as a test case.
minkie
Posted - 15 March 2017 18:12
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Ah very sensible ( and charitable!)
Win/win then
I agree with the judgment, a will is a will, otherwise what is the point?
🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 18:17
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Yes but the judgement still doesn't respect the will.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 15 March 2017 18:18
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Having read the SC judgment it is especially disappointing to see that:

1. Nothing new has been added by way of guidance on the scope of "maintenance"

and

2. The "moral claim" heresy invented in Re Coventry has been reinstated with unanimous approval (see paragraph 20). This effectively is the SC giving a green light to inserting an extra hurdle for adult claimants which Parliament never intended and on which the 1975 Act is silent, under the subjective cloak of a value judgment. A bad example of judicial activism.

3. The message is that to have a "moral claim" for reasonable financial provision, the claimant must have e.g. made some contribution to the growth of the estate, or cared for the deceased in their old age. If the claimant is an adult child living independently, even if they are living in straightened circumstances they are going to struggle to get over the "moral claim" hurdle. This is a backwards step.

4. Finally, the charities' needs were assumed to be at least equal to or greater than the needs of the claimant, without any evidence that the charities needed provision from the estate. Why? This approach automatically puts a claimant at a disadvantage in the "needs" balancing exercise if a competing beneficiary is a charity.

Intellectually shoddy.

PS this isn't really my practice area, so I would be interested to see comments from other Rofers who regularly do this contentious probate stuff.
🐝 buzz
Posted - 15 March 2017 18:20
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Anyone in any practice area is probably competent to comment on what the law ought to be rather than what is is or how a statute should be construed.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 15 March 2017 18:36
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Buzz, I anticipate a flurry of articles will be penned and published pronto.

Mostly written by the Wills & Estate Planning mob who have a vested interest in maximising testamentary freedom for clients, so this SC judgment will be welcomed with popping champers corks all round.
Lydia
Posted - 15 March 2017 19:22
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sporting, but I take the opposite view to you. Your ananlysis is good but (2) - a good directionto go in (respecting testator wishes) and nice to see sensible judicial activism. (3) great news - again let the testator wishes prevail. If children mess things up and are in poverty but are adults more fool them. That will teach others to make better choices. (4) why shouldn't sensible charities be regarded as a better home for the money than a daughter on state benefits who will be no better off if she has the money anyway as she just loses the benefits for a short time until the money is used up.
Budgie Quay
Posted - 15 March 2017 20:18
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I cant understand how she has any rights at all. I'm not (quite) a 100% IHT nutter but surely no adult should have an automatic right to an inheritance.

So if someone progressive person decided to give all their wealth to the state to help fund welfare across the board (a slightly crazed socialist thing to do but intellectually and morally a perfectly acceptable decision) - that would not be permitted? It seems that the court could insist that some of the money be given to the feckless offspring?

That's totally wrong. The Courts actually forcing people to submit to a regressive Tory practice entirely against their will?

That's how fucked our political economy and culture is right there.

I agree with Lyds. This is social mobility in action. Doesn't happen often but when it does its not the state's job to stop it.
sad banta
Posted - 15 March 2017 20:48
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It is crazy that the daughter has a legal right to support from the mother's estate on death when she has no right to support from the mother while alive. Where is the logic in that ?

Why should the I(PFD)A be on the books at all in a country with a comprehensive welfare system ?

Or at least it should be possible to elect by your will that it doesn't apply ?
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 22:18
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Sad banta (&others) - bear in mind the timing of the act, shortly after the Matrimonial Causes Act, the mood at the time being you can't just leave your wife destitute and let the state pick up the tab - and dying doesn't get you out of it either. It was also quite a 'modern' piece of legislation in that applied to unmarried couples and it also means family members can be provided for where people haven't bothered to update their will or haven't made a will at all.

Provision for adult children has always been the knottiest problem. The summary of the re Coventry judgement is quite a useful historical insight but each case will continue to turn on its merits. What this case shows is that provided the Dj at first instance correctly applies the principles in the act you will be stuck with his judgement, so you'd better stop being a d1ckhead (*cough* RSPCA) and do a deal.
sad banta
Posted - 15 March 2017 22:28
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I'm going to show my ignorance again here: if I die while subject to an MCA order to pay ongoing maintenance of £x a year to my ex-wife, is there a power under MCA to go against the estate to keep some or all of that income going ? Or is a separate action under the IPFDA needed ?
Incakenito
Posted - 15 March 2017 22:37
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This is really odd and surely wouldn't have happened were the animal charities human beings named in the will?

That said, how sad disowning your daughter like that aged 17 for her choice of man. I note she is still with him. Mother sounds a right old boot to go to those lengths to prevent the inheritance.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 22:40
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No -comes to an end when you die. That was one of the mischiefs the IPFDA set out to remedy.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 15 March 2017 22:45
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I think that's probably true - you have to consider the strength of the competing claims.

No doubt the mother behaved capriciously. She had no connection to the charities in question - as the claimant put it, she acted out of spite.
Ukiyo-e
Posted - 15 March 2017 22:54
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AFAIK most civil law jurisdictions do not allow a parent to completely disinherit their child. English law is an outlier. It could be interesting to speculate on whether this says anything about cruelty, love and trust in English family relationships. A bit like the English habit of sending their children to boarding schools because they hate their kids so much.
Lydia
Posted - 16 March 2017 09:13
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Historically and even today most people have nothing to leave so inheritance law is in most countries an irrelevance relevant to the rich only and about money land and power. So our rules were designed to ensure eldest sons kept big estates together for the benefit of all those who worked and lived on them (and I am not joking - only large estates can keep all those servants and others in work).

Why do you need a connection to charities? Shoudl we be all having to prove 20 years of giving sums to the RSPCA to ensure after death a bequest to them cannot be over turned? Will be anti postings on RoF be used against me in future to illustrate I would never in sound mind have left money to the RSPCA - what if I had a guilt conversion and wanted to do right by the dogs in the end?
🐝 buzz
Posted - 16 March 2017 09:18
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"so inheritance law is in most countries an irrelevance relevant to the rich only"

I'm sure that was backed by rigorous comparative law research and not simply made up as it would be convenient if true.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 16 March 2017 09:21
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'Will be anti postings on RoF be used against me in future to illustrate I would never in sound mind have left money to the RSPCA - what if I had a guilt conversion and wanted to do right by the dogs in the end?'

You're mixing up two issues there Lydia. It wasn't a question of capacity.
It was, however, evidence that the mother was behaving capriciously and acting out of spite.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 16 March 2017 10:38
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The origins of the 1938 legislation that established this derogation from testamentary freedom should be considered. That puts this situation in context for the absolute testamentary freedom zealots like Lydia.

It was the scandalous treatment of wives and children by rich men who left their entire estate by Will to their mistresses, leaving their wives and children destitute, that prompted Parliament to pass the 1938 Act. The 1975 Act is basically the 1938 Act updated, with some extra provisions.

In the 21st century is it not morally reprehensible for a miserable old bag to disinherit her natural child and give the lot to animal charities, out of spite? Especially when the daughter and grandkids are in somewhat straightened financial circumstances, and the animal charities are well-funded large organisations with CEOs and Board members on 6 figure salaries?

At the same time the SC approves the extra hurdle (not in the Act) that requires the child to prove some kind of "moral claim" over and above being a natural child and in need of reasonable financial provision out of the estate. This is crazy.

Maid_Marian02
Posted - 16 March 2017 10:42
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I can't believe this went to the highest court to decide what is common sense - she had her faculties and purposefully chose to donate to charity rather than give to her daughter - free will and all that - why the need for a court case? Waste of time and money all round
🐝 buzz
Posted - 16 March 2017 10:42
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Whether or not something is morally reprehensible is a different question to whether the law should be enforcing moral standards though. Not being a complete testamentary freedom zealot, I can see the argument and agree with the point about those who were being maintained before death should continue to be so but those who hadn't been maintained for years and where non-maintenance was not itself unlawful, they're in a different category
sad banta
Posted - 16 March 2017 10:44
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"In the 21st century is it not morally reprehensible for a miserable old bag to disinherit her natural child and give the lot to animal charities, out of spite? "

Yes, arguably, but the law is inconsistent. If it's so morally reprehensible that the law ought to intervene, then why can it only do so on her death ? Why does the law force the estate to give what the person couldn't be forced to give while alive ?
sad banta
Posted - 16 March 2017 10:49
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And the welfare state is far more comprehensive, and more heavily funded by the wealthy and their estates, than it was in 1938.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 16 March 2017 10:50
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Buzz - the Supreme Court agrees with you on that point. The long estrangement was rightly considered to be a factor by the District Judge (along with the other factors):

'It is clear that the District Judge gave effect to his findings as to the causes of the estrangement in allowing the claim, as he was entitled to do, but it does not follow that the relationship between mother and daughter was of insignificant weight to the exercise, and he rightly held that it was not.'

Maid Marion - she got £50k. The will left her nothing.
In the Navy
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:01
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The law should try to mitigate against khunts insofar as possible.

The mother in this case was a miserable, spiteful wretch, who disinherited her daughter for the sole reason she didn't like the daughter's husband.

That's personality disorder stuff. I'm sorry but while the law ought to respect autonomy and personal wishes, it also ought to protect people against those with delusions and personality disorders.

If there's any consolation, its that the whole country knows what an irredeemable khunt the mother in this case was. As will thousands of people in future generations, as they read this case while studying law.
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:02
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the judgment says that the daughter should take some of the blame for the mother's various attempts at reconciliation failing. The mother tried to patch things up, but the daughter didn't let it happen. I have no sympathy for the daughter.

Also, daughter was awarded £50k (when IMO she shouldn't have got anything - free will etc) and then APPEALED that award on the basis that it wasn't enough. greedy much? It was only at that point that the animal charities joined in and cross-appealed.

I don't understand why she received maintenance when she hadn't had any for years, and had no expectation of any (although clearly that changed when she found she was being left nothing).
In the Navy
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:04
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Oh and the mother probably owes the daughter substantial compensation for the extent to which she has probably fvcked her daughter up - if she was like this with her will imagine what she was like, and the things she probably said to her daughter when she was a child, teenager.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:16
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'I don't understand why she received maintenance when she hadn't had any for years, and had no expectation of any (although clearly that changed when she found she was being left nothing).'

The DJ was perfectly entitled to provide her with maintainance. The relationship between the parties is not (as above) an insignificant factor but it is not the only factor - he had to consider the other factors in s.3 as well. He also did not share your assessment as regards fault for the breakdown in the relationship:

'District Judge Million went on to find that Mrs Jackson was capricious and unfair in many of the criticisms of Mrs Ilott recorded in letters, and that her decision to exclude her altogether from her estate was harsh and unreasonable.'
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:19
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eh? the judgment says "Equally, he found that Mrs Ilott and her husband contributed to some of the difficulties in sustaining a reconciliation."
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:20
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he also found that the daughter was "deliberately evasive" in some of her evidence.
Maid_Marian02
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:21
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I know, she got %50k originally didn't she, then appealed as she wanted more - IMO she shouldn't have got anything as her mother made the will in full possession of her faculties - free will etc - as per my point above. The whole thing is a waste of space. Reconciliation attempts or no - completely irrelevant - people have free will to leave their finances/ assets to charities over people if they want to.
Maid_Marian02
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:21
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Or what Loupy said!
sad banta
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:23
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It's a shame the mother in this case was such an unsympathetic character.

I love my children dearly, but I can genuinely imagine a situation where I'm updating my will in my 60s, they're all grown up and their lives are whatever they've chosen to make of them, and I want to say "Leave it all to neuroblastoma research". Why should the court have power to alter that ?
Massive fuckwit
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:30
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The trouble with supposed reconciliation attempts by abusive parents is they are often just an attempt to bring the victim back to a place where they can be given a kicking again. If the parent doesn't resolve their underlying issues then they will never break out of the pattern where they get temporary relief from their problems by victimising their child. As an adult the child of such a parent is wise to keep their distance.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:32
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Loupy you were implying it was a one way street and the daughter was solely to blame.

'The mother tried to patch things up, but the daughter didn't let it happen. I have no sympathy for the daughter.'

This doesn't really tell the whole story.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:33
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See, some of you are falling into the error of deciding whether the daughter was "... an adult child ... deserving or undeserving of reasonable maintenance"

because she dared to criticise her evil mother, and the attampts at reconciliation failed, and she was evasive in some of her evidence (as are many if not most witnesses irl)

The daughter was human. You should not have to be a saint to get your 1975 Act claim accepted.

£50k for "maintenance" is not exactly generous, when the estate was valued at @ 10x more.

Why are the 3 charities not being lambasted for their arguably uncharitable approach by insisting that they should get the whole bluddy lot? And for dragging this poor woman through 10 years of litigation stress and misery, just to prove a point?
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:33
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'people have free will to leave their finances/ assets to charities over people if they want to.'

The Supreme Court disagrees with you.
In the Navy
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:36
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"The trouble with supposed reconciliation attempts by abusive parents is they are often just an attempt to bring the victim back to a place where they can be given a kicking again."

This. Most people are just so clueless about personality disorders its scary. The clue is in the initial act by the mother in estranging the daughter.
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:39
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TDB - did you read my post? I made it clear it wasn't a one way street: "the judgment says that the daughter should take some of the blame for the mother's various attempts at reconciliation failing."
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:41
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zucchini the charities didn't insist they should get the whole lot. they only became involved once the daughter decided she wanted more than the £50k that had been awarded.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:42
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So why do you have no sympathy for the daughter if it wasn't a one way street?
sad banta
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:45
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FAOD I'm not arguing the case was wrongly decided, I'm arguing the scope of IPFDA should be restricted so it can't achieve anything the courts couldn't achieve in the deceased's lifetime.
Loopy-Lou
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:45
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i'm talking about in relation to this judgment and the decision to reduce the award back to £50k.

two people are at fault, neither of whom sound particularly nice.
Terence Brent D'arby
Posted - 16 March 2017 11:53
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OIC.

Well we don't know what advice she received but there was certainly (prior to this judgement) a prevailing mood that people in receipt of means-tested benefits should not receive capital that would simply be eaten up paying rent and a better approach would be to give them enough money to purchase a property (which also reduces the burdon on the state) - hence the increased figure in the CofA.
Budgie Quay
Posted - 16 March 2017 22:31
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"this poor woman". Seriously.

Most people get fvck all. why should she get any more? She has no right to it. Charities absolutely entitled to it and will probably spend it better than this woman who achieved diddly squat in her life and wasted 10 years of her life trying to get something for nothing and frankly deserves her penury more than most.

Of more interest is the fact that there will be increasing numbers of disputes around inheritances. Wealth is accumulating far faster than the economy is growing.Real incomes are continuing to collapse and our political economy is entirely captured by rentiers who will tax incomes to death and cleverly fail to even acknowledge the possibility of wealth or land taxes. The public are too stupid or complicit to notice this.

People are waking up to the fact that we/ve recreated a 19th century social system. They will fight to the death over inheritances as they know damn well their social and economic status depends upon it far more than anything they could ever achieve by working.
Rhialto
Posted - 16 March 2017 23:12
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Came across a great iht saving scheme.

If terminally in give away all your money. Go on a cruise. Jump over the side. Presumption of death 7 years later. Successful PET.

Bright Carver
Posted - 16 March 2017 23:39
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The jump over the side bit is pretty good advice if you've got to the stage of going on cruises anyway and irrespective of the rest, tbh.
Excession
Posted - 17 March 2017 07:53
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What I was taught was that the main purpose of the act was to make sure dependents weren't left destitute on the death of someone who had been supporting them in life. Also so that cohabitees could make claims on estates as they would be ignored by intestacy laws/not be mentioned in out of date wills. At the time the right criticised it as a 'Mistresses' Charter ' as I recall.

Adult claimants needed to be well, dependent. So children still living at home, or who received ongoing financial support from the deceased would be considered. But children who hadn't received a penny from or seen their parent in decades? Of course not -because.they were not dependents and we are not French.

Obviously since the act came in, there has been slippage and the ongoing creep has now lead us to judges rewriting any will they think fit on vague moral grounds. This leads to unecessary uncertainty and is simply bad law. If the SC have rowed back in such woolly judicial activism, so much the better
🐝 buzz
Posted - 17 March 2017 08:53
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Well indeed. We're not French and Denning is long dead.
Excession
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:05
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LOL. I wouldn't care if we did have some form of Code Civile distribution to children on death. At least people would know where they stood. But I'm really struggling to see why someone with no dependence on nor contact with the deceased in 50 years should have any claim...
Spurius Odus
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:15
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I don't think anyone has pointed out above that the Supreme Court Judges don't exacltly disagree with those who think she should have got nothing.

"Because of these consequences, the estrangement was one of the two dominant factors in this case; the other was Mrs Ilott’s very straitened financial position. Some judges might legitimately have concluded that the very long and deep estrangement had meant that the deceased had no remaining obligation to make any provision for her independent adult daughter... As it was, the judge was perfectly entitled to reach the conclusion which he did, namely that there was a failure of reasonable financial provision, but that what reasonable provision would be was coloured by the nature of the relationship between mother and daughter."
Spurius Odus
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:17
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Claim dismissed would have been a perfectly acceptable decision at first instance. Anyone who brings a claim on similar facts is taking a big risk after this decision, as is anyone who funds/insures them.
🐝 buzz
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:20
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Apart from fundamentally disagreeing. The difference between 50k and 160k is just a matter of quantum. The difference between 0 and 50k is the difference between a right to provision and no right.
🐝 buzz
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:21
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I appreciate the SC is not there to retry the case from 1st instance.
Lydia
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:30
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My understanding of the law was the same as Excession - adult children unless disabled or living at home I suppose were not entitled to anything - as the act is about dependants and there is also no duty to support adult children in English law (although Cameron was bringing in a no housing benefit until you are 25 rule and student loans assume parents will pay something).

The £50k which no one was disputing is probably just about okay particularly it will remove the lady's benefits until it is used up so saves we tax payers money.

The 1930s concern of widows being left without a penny does not now exist because of the welfare state adn I have never liked the idea you are entitled to continue to exist to the standard to which you have become used whether post divorce or post rich person's death. Why shoudl you not slum it on £20k a year like many people do?

The my comment above that most people pay inheritance tax is correct. Just do a google search. Half of those who pay it are in London.

Someone asked how I might avoid IHT. Obviously give the money to the chidlre before I die and live 7 years but if I am still living here then I will just pay them rent but who knows what IHT or capital transfer taxes (we used to have that tax on gifts in English law by the way as far as I remember) will be in 30 years' time. I have a way to go yet. I am hoping money given in 29016 and 2017 if I die 30 years after that will not be clawed back by way of tax.
Lydia
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:31
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Also interesting issue over animals and people here! The lady had her every need catered for by the state through benefits. Animals don't get that. Who is to say the estranged daughter who doesn't need £50k or £160k should be put above a . Think of the dogs.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 17 March 2017 09:39
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Excession wrote:

"Adult claimants needed to be well, dependent."

No they don't need to be dependents. That only aplies to an applicant who is NOT a spouse / former spouse / child / treated as a child of the family (which basically includes step-children)

Dependency (or its absence) is only one of the factors to be taken into account by the court in exercising its powers under s.3(1)(d) but is expressed in terms of "the obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards the applicant". Which is wider than mere financial dependency.

The ground for an application by (an adult child of the deceased) is that the disposition of the deceased's estate ... (by will) ... is not such as to make reasonable financial provision for the applicant.

Which means "such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his maintenance"

Far from slippage and creep in favour of 1975 Act applicants, there seems to be an implicit degree of public policy that the Courts should create additional tests for adult children that are not in the 1975 Act, under the guise of making value judgements on the question of what constitutes reasonable financial provision under the Will, and what would be reasonable for the applicant to receive for his maintenance.

There is a mindset that the 1975 Act should be applied on a Scrooge-style basis even if the value of the estate is massive and the maintenance needs of the adult child applicant in order to raise him or her above subsistence level are quite affordable and would not be materially detrimental to the other beneficiaries.

As for charities named as beneficiaries, the factor which the Court must take into account under s.3(1)(c) regarding "...the financial resources and financial needs which eny beneficiary of the estate of the deceased has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future" seems to have been thrown out of the window and replaced by a presumption that charities are de facto more needy and on a higher moral footing than any applicant, without the need for charities to bring any evidence of their actual resources and needs. If the 3 big charities' resources and needs had been scrutinised it would be at least fairer to Mrs Ilott, and it would have been obvious that either DJ Million's award, or the CA's award would have had an insigificant impact on any of these large charities who were always going to get the lion's share anyway.

The fact that the testatrix had chosen 3 animal charities with which she had no prior association might be construed as just further evidence of her malice towards her daughter.
stockdalecarina
Posted - 17 March 2017 16:45
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I wonder whether there is anything left of the estate as presumably it's been eaten up by court costs. Obviously Mrs Ilott cannot pay any legal costs. the only source would be from the estate.
This case has taken 10 years or so. Where has all the money been held over that time? Has the property been sold and the money banked.
Does anybody benefit from this at the end of the day.
Blue Cross has issued a statement on it's website but it's very vague and short. I doubt they will actually get any money and will Mrs Ilott actually get any? At the end of the day, the reality is likely to be that Mrs Jackson's wish for the money to go to charity won't happen, because there's no money left. At the same time maybe it's the same for her daughter as well so could that at least satisfy her wishes.
Excession
Posted - 17 March 2017 19:03
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The 38 Act specifically only provided for dependent children to be able to claim and this was society's general expectation. The right of an adult child ceased when he or she ceased to be dependent

The 75 Act did extend the ability of the courts to award 'such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his maintenance'.

So technically a 70 year old child could benefit. But the question is, in what circumstances would it be reasonable to expect payments from your parents by way of maintenance once you are capable of making your own way in the world?

The reasons for this weren't commented on in Hansard (although one Lord did say he thought there should be an age cap inserted) but in the Act the only particular factor to take into account in the case of a child is 'the manner in which the applicant was being or in which he might expect to be educated or trained' - so it was likely the ability to award support for an adult child at university or on a long-term apprenticeship or similar - i.e. before the child was able to earn his or her way in the world - that lead to the extension.
I suppose adult children still living at home would likely be being 'dependent' anyway but the extension might also remove the burden of proving it.

Certainly in the 80's when I was learning the Act we were taught that if an adult child had moved out of home, wasn't still in education or disabled or currently receiving financial support (or perhaps had been promised support or had some other very particular reason to expect it) he would have virtually no chance of being awarded anything under the Act.

This is just because it wouldn't be reasonable for an adult child to expect money from his parents in the absence of such circumstances.

I think (with the massive increase in house prices and with tertiary education no longer being free) there may well be an increased expectation these days that you have to support your adult kids- but certainly that wasn't the case when the Act came in.

I'm suprised SZ thinks it's become harder rather than easier for non-dependent adult children to get awards (although it sounds like it's his practcie area so I will happily bow to his expertise in this field). Perhaps they got it wrong when they taught it at Uni in the 80's...

sad banta
Posted - 17 March 2017 19:26
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"I'm suprised SZ thinks it's become harder rather than easier for non-dependent adult children to get awards"

I'm surprised SZ is so emotive about it. Especially the 10.38 post. "Zealots", "morally reprehensible", "scandalous". If you're the expert on the thread, just give us the law m9.

sad banta
Posted - 17 March 2017 19:40
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Sorry, bit arsey there. Hadn't sought permission to treat the witness as hostile either. Oops.
Lydia
Posted - 17 March 2017 21:15
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It's a fascinating area as some people favour 100% inheritance tax so everyone has the clean slate. Others don't want any (me) and want the children to have everything. others want the much younger wife to get it all the the adult children from the first marriage not a penny. Just about everyone would agree that infant children should get something but agree Bill Gates could make sure the children had a nice house and a college fund but leave the rest to malaria research even if that rest were 99.9% of the estate.

I certainly don't like the idea that if you have an idle layabout adult child of 30 - 70 at home when you die who is not your carer and other children who work hard and aren't at home the idle one might get more on your death than the others.
sporting_zucchini
Posted - 18 March 2017 12:53
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sad banta, I take an interest in this topic because something similar happened in my family which caused an irreconcilable split, and the resulting feud goes on and on. If testators had a bit of enlightened foresight and put the interests of the family as a whole above their petty grudges or favouritisms this kind of bitter inheritance dispute would be rare.

House price inflation is a driving factor so the Courts will be kept busy with challenged Wills, and 1975 Act caims. I can't help thinking that the judiciary is worried that a more liberal approach would open the floodgates and therefore this is an unspoken public policy.

If claimant adult children get zilch under the 1975 Act, you can get an absurd result (there is a case in point) where the estate ends up as bona vacantia so the Treasury gets the lot. That cannot have been the intention of the Testator.

On a related subject, there is also a glaring anomaly under the Intestacy Rules. The Law Commission bottled it when faced with the problem of amending the Rules to cover second marriages and step-families. Too difficult.

We still have a situation where only natural descendants (blood relatives) and adopted children can take under an intestacy; step-children from previous marriages are still excluded even if they are treated as children of the family. That is manifestly unfair and outdated, given the modern prevalence of serial marriages and combined / merged step-families.
🐝 buzz
Posted - 18 March 2017 13:25
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Fair point about house prices. If my old man hadn't made a new death bed will in contemplation of marriage, married the next day and then croaked three days later, I'd have inherited a very decent house deposit aged 17 instead of inheriting the square root of **** all. Which inheritance I would then have spunked up the wall while at uni and probably have ended up dead by 21. Swings and roundabouts eh?
sad banta
Posted - 18 March 2017 15:25
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s-z, sorry to hear about the personal impact. I did wonder if there was something driving your strong feelings about capricious or spiteful testators and I shouldn't have been flippant.

My Dad died very unexpectedly and hadn't updated his will for 20 years. I was executor. He was living with a new partner and there was definitely potential for a large IPFDA claim but fortunately the beneficiaries under the will liked her and were reasonable and were also financially secure enough not to need to fight.
Osama
Posted - 18 March 2017 15:31
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not sure Courgette's step children point is as clear cut as he says. Being "part of the family" through a second marriage shouldnt necessarily deprive blood children of a penny
sad banta
Posted - 18 March 2017 15:36
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Buzz - . I've got Python in my head now: "When you're chewing on life's gristle..."