Your Obligations to make reasonable financial provision for your dependants, may outweigh your desire to leave a charitable legacy.

You may wish to disinherit / exclude some / all family members from your will because they are estranged, or have a profligate lifestyle, or for many other reasons.

You may even want to leave a large portion of your estate to charity.

However, the Supreme Court case of Ilott (Respondent) v The Blue Cross and others (Appellants) could mean that even if you have excluded adult children they could still try to make a claim against your will.

The Supreme Court cautioned against making awards as "rewards for good behaviour on the part of the claimant or penalties for bad on the part of the deceased".

Unreasonable behaviour does not necessarily mean that a will has failed to make reasonable financial provision.

The series of court cases involved many challenges against leaving things to charities that people didn’t have a previously strong connection to.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 says that you must make reasonable financial provision for your spouse and children and any person who, immediately before your death, was being maintained, either wholly or partly, by you.

This includes dependants such as your civil partner, cohabitees, step-children or someone for whom you have a particular responsibility; and could also include a former spouse or civil partner.

You cannot just ignore former partners for whom you have an ongoing commitment, e.g. the payment of maintenance. If there has been a ‘clean break’ settlement then potential claims are unlikely to succeed particularly if the divorce settlement incorporated a no claim clause.

For the Charities, any money from your estate is treated as a windfall and not a legal right and they have no expectation of benefit if you've had no obvious connection with them.

So if you are thinking of leaving all your money to charity, or disinheriting a family member of dependant you MUST give fully detailed reasons in your will, otherwise it will be a lot easier for your will to be contested and your wishes overturned.