Unemployed daughter fails to get any money from her late father’s estate

Helen Vorley of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate Department and member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) discusses the case of Ames in which the Court decided that a person’s ‘lifestyle choice’ of being unemployed barred a daughter from her late father’s fortune.

Helen said “As set out by our Peter Levy, Consultant Solicitor at Astle Paterson, in his April article on the subject, in the case of Ilott v Mitson a late mother’s wish to leave all of her monies to charities was overturned by the Court, with the Court awarding a payment of £163,000 from the estate to her daughter who was in receipt of welfare benefits.

You may have read recent press reports about a similar case concerning a Danielle Ames’ claim against her late father Michael Ames’ £1,000,000.00 estate.   Michael had left his money to his wife – the step-mother of Danielle.

The Judge in the case refused to give to the daughter any of the fortune and said that her unemployment was a ‘lifestyle choice’ after determining she was capable of working to support herself and her family.   Conversely, the Judge sympathised with her step-mother as she was past working age and in poor health.

It is of note that not only did Danielle fail to get any money from the estate, she now faces paying legal costs estimated at more than £130,000.00.”

Helen continued, “The two cases demonstrate the decision of a Court as to whether reasonable provision has been made to dependents of a deceased person is based on the circumstances of each case and, in particular, the positions of the competing parties.   Had Danielle, for example, been in poor health and unable to work then the outcome may well have been quite different.”

“The cases highlights the importance of seeking professional legal advice when making your Will so as to ensure appropriate advice is given about how potential claims might be stopped” Helen concluded.

Please contact Helen Vorley or Sarah Nash of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate department on 01283 531366 or by way of email at or to discuss making your Will. 

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