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Adam Carvalho and Richard McDermott consider the courts’ approach to claims brought under the Inheritance Act 1975 by adult children and creditors of beneficiaries

8 November 2016

There has apparently been a steady increase in reported claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – there were 116 reported cases in 2015, up from 15 in 2005. No doubt factors such as increased public awareness arising from press coverage of cases like Ilott v Mitson [2015] EWCA Civ 797, together with rising property values and thorny issues such as cohabitees’ rights, have contributed to the trend. As practitioners will know, many claims will be settled at the pre-action stage.

Adult child cases continue to generate a certain amount of controversy. At its most extreme, testamentary freedom means that a person ‘may disinherit, either wholly or partially, his children, and leave his property to strangers to gratify his spite, or to charities to gratify his pride, and we must give effect to his Will, however much we may condemn the course he has pursued&r...

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