Estranged daughter handed victory in Wills dispute
Inheritance battles are back in the news after many commentators predicted claims by adult children to diminish following the decision of Ilott v Blue Cross.
The children of OXO-advert star Lynda Bellingham are reported to be locked in a bitter dispute with their step-father after receiving just £50,000 from a £5m estate. Trouble is reported to have arisen after allegations that Bellingham’s will was prepared whilst she was on medication. This was then compounded post-death by the spending habits of their step-father and his new relationship. Both children work and so they would face difficulty bringing claims, notwithstanding the alleged unfair split of the estate.
Outside the world of celebrity, last week a Judge in Leeds made an award in favour of an adult daughter who had been estranged from her father and, along with her siblings, excluded from his will. The claim succeeded on the basis that the daughter needed maintenance to take a course to qualify as a veterinary nurse.
Where an inheritance claim is brought, early and collaborative engagement with all parties is the best way forward. Whilst these claims are challenging, they have not been ended by Ilott, therefore clear and timely inheritance planning is more necessary than ever.