Wills and Probate – Proper Provision for Children – July 2017
The Law Reform Commission has published a report on the law relating to the rights of sons and daughters to inherit from a parent’s estate. Under the law as it now stands, if a court considers that a parent has failed to make “proper provision” in his or her will for a son or daughter, it can order that more generous provision be made for that son or daughter from the parent’s estate (Section 117 of the Succession Act 1965). Section 117 makes no distinction between minor and adult sons and daughters. The Commission has recommended that it should be assumed that parents have already provided sufficiently for any child aged over 18 (or over 23 if in full-time education) and therefore recommends that the current Section 117 be replaced with a provision requiring a parent to make proper provision only for sons and daughters who have not yet reached the age of 18 (or 23 if still in full-time education). It recommends, however, that a parent should still be obliged to make proper provision for an adult son or daughter where one of the following three scenarios apply: (1) where the adult son or daughter has a particular financial need arising from their health or decision-making capacity; (2) where the estate includes an item of particular sentimental value to the adult son or daughter; (3) where the adult son or daughter provided care and support for the deceased parent. The Commission also favours allowing applications for proper provision to be made where there is no will (which is not the case now).