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Charities take inheritance challenge to Supreme Court

Court expected to definitively rule on the limits of 'reasonable financial provision'

2 March 2016

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The three charities involved in the Illot v Mitison case have been granted permission to challenge the Court of Appeal's decision to grant Heather Ilott one third of her mother's estate.

The RSPCA, RSPB and Blue Cross charities contest that the court has overruled Mrs Jackson's right to testamentary freedom.

Melita Jackson left the majority of her estate worth almost £500,000 to the three charities and categorically stated that she did not want her daughter to inherit from her estate.

Heather Ilott received £164,000 from the estate, following a claim she had made through the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

In awarding her the inheritance, Lady Justice Arden said that Mrs Jackson would have otherwise inherited had it not been for Mrs Jackson's behaviour, which she described as 'unreasonable, capricious and harsh towards her only child'.

The decision in Ilott v Mitson [2015] EWCA Civ 797 consequently attracted a lot of attention as it appeared to extend the limits of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, while simultaneously undermining testamentary freedom.

The Supreme Court's judgment is expected to provide clarity on the limits of reasonable financial provision in the inheritance act.


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Charities Family Wills, Trusts & Probate