Cut out of Will

Children cut out of Grandmothers Will.

Probate question:

I  lived with my partner for 20 years and we had three children.  He sadly passed away.  But what has upset me afterwards is that my partners mother then died and left my children, her grandchildren, absolutely nothing.   This was because we were not married so, as far as she was concerned, the children were stigmatised.   It was quite deliberate.

My question is, do the children have any rights to claim against her estate: could I  try to get something for them?

Probate answer:

Under English Law (but not under the law of may other countries) people are entitled to dispose of their assets by way of their Last Will exactly as they wish.

But, and it is a big but, they have to consider those people who they should benefit, and sometime such Wills are overturned because the person was confused and forgot one of their children for example – which might indicate that they were not in full possession of their wits.   Another time when such a Will might be overturned is on the grounds of what is called “undue” influence.   Let’s say that two sisters fall out big time, and one lives hundred of miles away from the other, and that one lives near their mother.  If the local sister persistently bad mouths the far away sister, and gradually persuades the mother that she is not deserving of any inheritance, then it may be possible to overturn the Will on the grounds of undue influence.  But it is not easy to prove.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants  Act 1975) also opens up a another way of overturning unfair Wills, and it just might help in your case (but probably not from what you have said).  If your mother in law had been helping in some financially related way (cash help, babysitting so you could go to work, accommodation etc etc) with bringing up the children, it may be possible to persuade the Court to replace the help that they were getting with some cash from the estate.   But I wouldn’t hold your breath, and you could end up very out of pocket paying legal costs, so don’t even try unless there is a strong case.    You could try to negotiate an out of Court settlement with the executors.  We can help, at our usual modest fees….