Can you disinherit your children in your Will?

Melita Jackson died in 2004 and she had made it very clear in her Will and accompanying letter that she did not want her estranged daughter, Heather Ilott to benefit from her estate. Instead, Melita Jackson chose to disinherit her daughter and leave her estate of £486,000 to three animal charities.

Matilda Jackson and her daughter had fallen out when Heather Ilott eloped and married her boyfriend some 37 years ago, at the age of 17. They never reconciled before Mrs Jackson’s death.

Heather Ilott expected to receive a share of her late mother’s estate and when she realised she had been disinherited she made a claim against the estate on the basis that she had a ‘financial need’.

On 7th August 2007, DJ Million made an award of £50,000 to Heather Ilott, however, that ruling was reversed before it was decided Heather Ilott was entitled to a share of the estate. The panel of three judges ordered that she will receive a third of the estate, totalling £164,000 due to her mother not leaving “reasonable financial provision” for her in her will.

What does the Ilott v Mitson case mean for you?

Dagmara Kulcykowska, specialist solicitor in Wills explains “this raises questions over a person’s rights when disinheriting a child, and their rights to leave their assets to whomever they wish. You will still be able to disinherit your children in your will but remember to leave detailed written reasons for your decision to disinherit as well as providing reasons and showing connections with those you are leaving the money to.”