Important Court Case Update
What happens when a parent leaves all their money to charity and not their children? Can the will be successfully challenged? Find out in this important court case update.
We last reported on this much publicised case in 2015 where one of our Partners, Sharon Montgomery was interviewed on BBC News and 3 Counties Radio.
The Supreme Court has now ruled in the last stage in the case of Ilott –v- The Blue Cross and Others.
This case was before the Court to decide if Mrs Ilott should receive any benefit under her late Mother’s will. Mrs Ilott’s mother, Melita Jackson, died in 2004 leaving her estate to three animal charities: RSPCA, RSPB and the Blue Cross and not leaving any benefit to her only child, Heather Ilott. Mrs Ilott contested this Will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This statute allows the Court to award “reasonable provision” from the estate. Mrs Ilott’s claim was contested by the three charities.
The case was heard in 2007 at the District Court and an award of £50,000 was made in favour of Mrs Ilott. Mrs Ilott then appealed this as the amount was too low.
The case was then heard at the Court of Appeal which increased the award to £143,000 in order that Mrs Ilott could buy a property and a sum of £20,000 to provide supplementary income. The three animal charities contested that the award should be reduced to the original £50,000.
The case was finally heard at the Supreme Court in December 2016 and a Judgment given on 16 March 2017. The Supreme Court restored the District Judge’s original award of £50,000 to Mrs Ilott.
The decision reaffirms the general principle of testamentary freedom.