Supreme Court To Hear Will Dispute Challenge

Lawyers Say Case Will Provide Clarity On Inheritance Claims From Adult Children

02.03.2016

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Specialist will dispute lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say an upcoming case in the Supreme Court will further clarify the rules on adult child claims in relation to inheritance and wills, especially where non-family members are involved.

The Court has given permission to hear the case of Illot v Mitson regarding the wishes of a woman who wanted the majority of her nearly half-million-pound estate to go to charity. The Supreme Court will decide whether the will should be upheld or whether her only child should be given a significant proportion of her assets.

In The court of appeal last year a judgment was upheld which ruled that Heather Illot, the daughter of Melita Jackson, had not been given reasonable financial provision in her mother’s will.

The High Court had originally awarded Mrs Illot £50,000 from the estate which was raised to £143,000 so she could buy the rented home she lived in, together with £20,000 to meet her income needs. However three charities have now appealed the ruling and have been given permission to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity, the RSPB and the RSPCA were the main beneficiaries in the original will.

Expert Opinion
"This is a very important case which is why it has made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

“It is anticipated that the case will provide more clarity and guidance on how adult child claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 are handled, particularly when they involve non-family members.

“It would seem that the charities want to understand why they should have to pay out some of their inheritance gift and are asking the Court to clarify the law.

“While this case has in the past raised questions of whether it is worth preparing a will, it should be remembered that the individual circumstances of each case are completely different. Ms Illot was given nothing in the will and the court heard she was in a dire financial position.

“Our advice is that it is important that people do prepare a Will and give proper thought to those who should be provided for and for those who have expectations that they may inherit. Good communication between family and friends about your Will can also save headaches and disputes further down the line."
Paula Myers, Partner

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling Will Disputes.