In a high profile case last year, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Heather Ilott’s claim against her mother’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. We reported on this case in September 2015. Click here for detailed information.
It has now been announced that the charity beneficiaries, The Blue Cross, RSPB and RSPCA, who lost out in that case have been granted permission to appeal the judgment which will be heard by the Supreme Court.
It is expected to hear the case in about 18 months and will decide whether the Court of Appeal was wrong in its approach to the “maintenance” standard under the Act, or if it was wrong to structure an award in a way which allowed Mrs Ilott to maintain her entitlement to state benefits.
Following the Court of Appeal judgment last year, there was widespread concern that the principle of testamentary freedom had been eroded and it seemed more likely that an adult child could be successful in making a claim against their parents’ estate. It will be interesting to hear the outcome from the Supreme Court which may narrow again the potential for claims.
In the meantime we must continue to advise our clients how to try to minimise the risk of any claims being made after death. Options they could consider include:
We await the judgment from the Supreme Court in the Ilott v Mitson case. The case highlights the importance of seeking professional advice when making a Will to ensure sufficient steps are taken to minimise the likelihood of any claims being made against an estate or any such claims being successful.
Keep an eye on our ‘News’ page as well as our Twitter feed for updates or contact Alice Clewes, Partner in our Private Capital team on 0191 232 8345 / Alice.Clewes@hay-kilner.co.uk