When Melita Jackson died in 2004, she made it very clear she did not want her estranged daughter, Heather Ilott, to benefit , and so left her estate to animal charities with which she had little connection.
The relationship between mother and daughter soured when, aged 17, Heather eloped with her future husband.
Heather Ilott was awarded a third of the estate because her mother had not left "reasonable provision" for her in the will. (She will now be able to buy her housing association property and will not lose her state benefits).
This landmark ruling means that you can still disinherit your children, but you will have to explain why and what connects you to those individuals or charities to whom you do bequeath money.
This could make it easier for adult "disinherited" children to challenge wills and claim greater sums by way of reasonable provision.
For charities this is no doubt a disappointing decision, particularly as it fetters the individual's freedom to choose who will receive his/her property when he/she dies.
A woman cut out of her mother's will has been awarded a £164,000 inheritance in what could prove to be a landmark ruling. Heather Ilott, of Ware, Hertfordshire, went to court after her mother Melita Jackson left her £486,000 estate to animal charities when she died in 2004. The Court of Appeal has ruled she should receive a third of the estate.The ruling could significantly weaken people's right to leave money to those they want to inherit it, it is thought. The Court heard Mrs Ilott, 54, had eloped at the age of 17 with her boyfriend and, as a result, her mother had never forgiven her and did not want her to receive a penny of her estate. It was left to the RSPCA, RSPB and Blue Cross charities.