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11 September 2015 / Brie Stevens-Hoare QC
Issue: 7667 / Categories: Features , Wills & Probate

Brie Stevens-Hoare QC considers adult children, charities & state benefits in the wake of the Ilott decision

Adult children and how to deal them, or at least their claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) 1975, has been a vexed topic for 25 years. Has it finally been resolved by the Court of Appeal in the second decision in Ilott v Mitson [2015] EWCA Civ 797, [2015] All ER (D) 290 (Jul)?

The 1938 predecessor legislation allowed children under 21 or subject to a physical or mental disability to apply. Parliament elected in the 1975 legislation to include all children without distinction. However it seemed for a long time the old distinctions survived. The Coventry decision in 1980 was frequently used to argue adult children had additional hurdles to clear. The Court of Appeal has been consistent in saying that legally the position of adult children is no different to that of other applicants; see Re Hancock (dec’d) [1993] 1 FCR 500, Espinosa v Bourke [1999] 3 FCR 76 and the first Ilott decision ([2014] EWHC 542 (Fam), [2014] All ER (D) 189 (Mar)). There are common th

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