Yesterday, the Supreme Court delivered its Judgement on the Illott v Mitson case, which has been making its way through the courts for 10 years.
Mrs Ilott originally brought a claim after her mother disinherited her from her estate worth £486,000. Her mother decided instead to leave the entire estate to three animal charities. You can read all about the background to the case in our earlier article here.
The Supreme Court decided to allow an appeal brought by the three charities named in the will, quashing the Court of Appeal decision to award Mrs Illott £163,000 and reinstating the first instance award of £50,000.
This was the first time that the Supreme Court had considered a claim brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable provision and the result has been closely watched.
The decision will be seen as an important victory for the charity sector, who heavily rely on legacies to complete their work, and will also be welcomed by those who believe that an individual has the right to leave their estate to who they chose, without interference by the Court.
The decision will have consequences for anyone bringing a claim under the Inheritance Act for reasonable financial provision, in particular those who are adult children like Mrs Illott.
It may have the effect of reducing more speculative claims in the future, but with commentators already suggesting that the judgement provides just as many questions as answers, it will be some time before the impact of today’s decision can properly assessed.
We'll provide you with a summary of the decision and some further thoughts on the impact shortly.
In the meantime, if you want to discuss an issue with a will, call our specialist team now on 0117 926 4121 or make a free online enquiry.