ONE TO WATCH: Inheritance Test Case Headed for Supreme Court

A charity which is appealing a ruling for a daughter to be granted a third of her mother’s estate despite the deceased parent’s wishes, is set to have its case heard by the Supreme Court.

Last year, despite the written instructions left by Melita Jackson for her £486,000 estate to be left to the RSPCA, RSPB and Blue Cross after she died, her estranged daughter of 26 years, Heather Ilott, won her fight to have the will overturned and was granted £163,000.

Judges have now agreed to hear the charities’ appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court in a landmark case that is expected to set a precedent for future inheritance claims.

‘Ms Ilott successfully challenged her mother’s instruction using the 1975 Inheritance Act, which says that a parent’s will must make “reasonable financial provision” for the maintenance of children, by arguing that this definition should include adult children,’ explains Andrea Cox, Director and Head of Private Client at Verisona Law.

‘Similar cases have been brought before the courts, but this is the first to be granted a hearing in the Supreme Court, so it is being watched with a great deal of interest.’

Andrea agrees with James Aspden, the solicitor representing the charities in their appeal, who said the Supreme Court’s decision will draw a line on the rights of children to challenge the contents of their parent’s will.

‘Win or lose, this is about trying to get some certainty on when the court can use its powers to intervene in this way,’ he said. ‘The charities want a ruling so people who wish to leave money to them know where they stand.’

‘The Supreme Court will only give time to a case that they perceive to be of public importance’ concludes Andrea. ‘We hope the result of this hearing, which is likely to take place next year, will give a definitive outcome and charities need no longer spend their money on legal battles such as these.’


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