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An amendment to inheritance laws, proposed by a Law Reform Commission Report, could allow parents to cut children out of their will. If the law changes, children who are unhappy with how they are provided for in a parent’s will can still bring a challenge in the courts. However, it will become more difficult for them to argue that they have not been provided for by their parents.
Only three exceptions are provided for in the new recommendations — where the adult child has a particular financial need arising from their health or decision making capacity, where the estate contains an item of particular sentimental value to the adult child, or where the adult child has provided care and support for the deceased.
The commission’s document signals an end to the notion that children are entitled to an inheritance. Parents will no longer have ‘moral duty’ to leave an inheritance for their children under proposed changes in the law. As per the report, changes in the law are being recommended to reflect on the fact that people are having fewer children and parents are living longer and need to fund their own later life, health and care requirements. The amendments should ensure older people pay for their own care as they age, rather than saving for the next generation.
The commission also recommended that children, whose parent dies without leaving a will, be allowed to make an application under section 117. This is however not possible under current law.