Disinherited by a stepparent? Are you entitled to claim?
Our inheritance team are regularly contacted by stepchildren who have been disinherited by a stepparent. One particularly common situation is where a stepparent goes back on an agreement that has previously been reached with a biological parent and changes their will after that parent has died.
In one recent case our client’s mother had promised him that he would receive an inheritance and made mirror wills with his stepfather. She believed that these mirror wills would ensure that he received his inheritance after they had both died.
His mother died first, and the stepfather inherited. However, the stepfather then changed his version of the mirror will so as to disinherit our client.
Couples often assume that mirror wills are binding even after one of them dies, but this is not the case. Mirror wills can be revoked at any time and there is nothing to stop the surviving partner from making an entirely different will, irrespective of any agreement reached with their late partner.
Our client felt that his stepfather’s actions were unfair and went against his mother’s specific wishes. He had been counting on the money. Health issues and then the pandemic had also severely impacted on his financial wellbeing.
His situation was made worse when he caught Covid-19 and suffered symptoms of ‘long Covid’. It was therefore a major blow when he discovered he had been disinherited by his stepfather. He turned to us for help and we agreed to take on his inheritance claim, working on a no win, no fee basis.
We presented the claim to the stepfather’s estate and made an offer to settle the case out of court on the basis of what our client would have received if the mirror will had not been revoked. Our offer was accepted and accordingly our client received the inheritance he had been promised by his mother. He was very pleased with the outcome, commenting that our well executed approach had paid off perfectly.
You can read more about the inheritance rights of stepchildren here.