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.’
- Will drafting
- Review of existing Wills
- Advice re provision for children, second families, spouses and civil partners, unmarried partners and other family members
- Advice re charitable gifts
- Advice re foreign and business assets
- Advice re Will trusts
- Inheritance Tax advice.
- Advice re Trust creation and ongoing management
- Preparation of trust deeds and other trust documentation
- Declarations of Trust
- Termination of trusts.
Probate and Administration of Estates
- Advice re the terms of the Will or intestacy rules where there is no Will
- Obtaining values for the various assets and liabilities in the estate, notifying the various institutions and obtaining all necessary estate information
- Obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration as appropriate
- Dealing with and advice re Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax, liaising with HMRC
- Notifying and liaising with the beneficiaries of the estate
- Preparing a deed of variation or a deed of disclaimer in relation to the estate
- Selling or transferring the various assets due to the beneficiaries
- Dealing with foreign assets and Wills
- Advice re estate disputes and claims against an estate