The Court of Appeal has reversed a ruling of the High Court to allow the estranged daughter of a woman who left her entire residuary estate to animal charities to receive a share of her mother’s estate.
The Will made no provision for the daughter but instead left around £486,000 to a number of animal welfare charities.
However, the daughter challenged the Will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, which enables family members and people who were dependant on the deceased to apply to Court for the Will to be amended in their favour. The Appeal Court held that the failure by the mother to provide anything for the daughter and to leave her estate to charities with which she had no connection was unreasonable and a decision made in spite rather than out of genuine charitable inclinations.
However charities are concerned about the affect that the judgement may have on future charitable donations made in Wills, especially at a time when the Government is cutting back on charitable support in favour of leaving their funding to such testamentary gifts.
The case though was decided as a result of its own specific facts and therefore should not adversely affect the legality of other charitable donations made in different circumstances.
For assistance with Wills and Probate matters including disputes call David Farr or Keith Darvill at kenneth elliott + rowe solicitors on 01708 757575