The normal rule is that a person can do whatever he or she wishes with an estate plan, as long as a few basic principles are taken into consideration, such as taking care of a spouse. Although most people choose to leave assets to their adult children, there is no requirement to do so. However, a recent ruling in the UK calls that into question.
Heather Ilott's father passed away when she was too young to remember him. He left behind a small, but not inconsiderable, estate from his earnings and compensation for his death which went to Ilott's mother, Melita Jackson.
At the age of 17, Ilott eloped with her teenage boyfriend. Despite attempts at reconciliation, Jackson never forgave her daughter.
Many years later, Ilott was impoverished and her mother passed away, still having a portion of the father's estate left. Despite her daughter's financial need, Jackson, still upset at the elopement, left her entire estate to charity. Normally, that would be the end of the story, but Ilott decided to sue for her mother's estate.
Over a decade later, the United Kingdom court system has ruled in Ilott's favor. The court ruled that Jackson acted cruelly and unreasonably in disinheriting her daughter.
Ilott was awarded a portion of the estate, most of which will go towards purchasing the house in which she lives. For more information about estate planning, please visit our website www.estateandprobatelawyersmi.com