This week in-Cumbria's legal experts, Baines Wilson LLP, share an on-going case surrounding a mother's will that left out her estranged daughter.

It has recently been reported that the highest Court in England and Wales (the Supreme Court) has given permission for the Defendants in the long-running, high profile case of Ilott v Mitson to appeal the decision of the second highest Court in England and Wales (the Court of Appeal).

The claim in Ilott v Mitson is based upon the provisions of The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. When an individual has not benefitted from the estate of a person who has died, either by the terms of their will, or by the intestacy rules (the rules which decide how a person’s estate should be administered in the lack of a will), in certain circumstances, they can ask the Court to order that they be provided for by the estate. 

In this case, Mrs Jackson died leaving her entire £486,000 estate to three charities. She left nothing to her estranged daughter, Mrs Ilott. Mrs Ilott made a claim under the provisions of the Inheritance Act 1975, claiming that the will did not make reasonable financial provision for her. The charities defended her claim.

In the first instance, the Court decided that Mrs Jackson’s will did not make reasonable financial provision for her daughter. The Judge awarded Mrs Illot a lump sum of £50,000. Mrs Ilott appealed against the level of the award, asserting that it should be higher. The charities also appealed.

On hearing the appeal, the High Court dismissed Mrs Illott’s claim, and allowed the charities’ appeal. Mrs Ilott appealed again.

The Court of Appeal upheld Mrs Ilott’s appeal and it awarded Mrs Ilott the sum of £143,000 to provide for the purchase of a home, and a capital sum of £20,000 to provide for income needs.

The saga did not, however, end there. The charities have appealed against the decision of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court has recently given permission for the appeal to be heard. It therefore remains to be seen if Mrs Illot or the charities will prevail in the long-standing battle over the estate of Mrs Jackson.

For advice about challenging a will, or making a claim against an estate, contact Baines Wilson on 01524 548494.