Supreme Court grants charities permission to appeal decision in disinheritance case

Supreme Court grants charities permission to appeal decision in disinheritance case

The Supreme Court has granted animal charities: Blue Cross, RSPCA & RSPB, permission to appeal in the Ilott V Mitson Court of Appeal case relating to a disinheritance dispute.

The Court of Appeal case took place in July 2015 and generated a lot of debate around the law governing claims by adult children who wanted to appeal under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

A recap on Ilott v Mitson

When Mrs Jackson died, the majority of her estate was left to the three charities in a will, despite the fact she’d had no connection with them when alive.

She had purposefully left out of her will any provision for her only child, Mrs Ilott, or that of any member of her family.

The mother and daughter had been estranged for over 26 years. Which arose after Mrs Ilott left home aged 17 to live with, and later marry and have 5 children to, a man who her mother didn’t approve of. Attempts at reconciliation over the years had repeatedly failed.

On the death of her mother, Mrs Ilott made an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from the estate.

The Court of Appeal agreed that Mrs Jackson had been unreasonable, capricious and harsh towards Mrs Ilott.

They awarded a sum that would enable Mrs Ilott to purchase her housing association home including costs, and payments of up to £20,000 that were structured in a way that would allow Mrs Ilott to preserve her state benefits.

The charities have been allowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. On the grounds of whether the Court of Appeal was wrong to set aside the award made at first instance on the respondent's claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

And whether the Court of Appeal approach to the "maintenance" standard under the 1975 Act, or was wrong to structure it in a way that allowed the respondent the preserve her entitlement to state benefits.

We’ll keep you up to date with the proceedings and await the judgment from the Supreme Court.

Need advice on making a will? We can help you

Please call Stephen Walker on 01482 324252.

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