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Is there a right to inherit under a Will? The case of Mrs Illott…

In the recent case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and Others, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of three animal charities inheriting under the deceased’s will. The case highlights the need for individuals to ensure that they have a Will in place and that the document contains their express wishes as to what should happen to their assets following their passing.

The facts of the case were that the deceased Mrs Jackson, left none of her £486,000 estate to her estranged daughter Mrs Ilott. Instead, Mrs Jackson left her money to the Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Mrs Ilott is a mother of five who lives on benefits and claimed that she should have been entitled to inherit under her mother’s will. She argued that her mother had no relationship with the charities and that her mother had made no provision for her, despite her greater financial need.

Back in 2007, the Family Division had initially ruled that Mrs Illot was entitled to a £50,000 share of the estate as provision for her reasonable maintenance. Following this decision, the Court of Appeal ruled this was not enough and awarded Mrs Illot £143,000 to buy the home she was living in and a further £20,000 to supplement her benefits.

The three charities appealed the decision and the matter was brought before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld the original award of £50,000 to Mrs Illot and stated that she was not entitled to the greater sum as Mrs Jackson had clearly stated she wished for her monies to go to the named charities.

Making a Will is straightforward and usually only requires one meeting with a Solicitor. You will be able to discuss your intentions for your estate and the Solicitor can address any concerns you may have in relation to inheritance tax for example.

Should you wish to make a Will please contact Samantha Perry on 01926 499889.