Inheritance challenges could rise following court ruling

A rather groundbreaking Court of Appeal judgment in Ilott v Mitson [2015] EWCA may lead to more challenges from people who are ignored or disinherited following the death of a close relative.

The Court of Appeal heard that Melita Jackson had left an estate worth £486,000 to the RSPCA, RSPB and Blue Cross animal charities after her death. But left her daughter who is aged 54 and on benefits, with nothing. She challenged the will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The daughter Mrs Ilott had left home with a boyfriend at the age of 17. Mother and daughter had become estranged and despite attempts at reconciliation, Mrs Jackson had apparently never forgiven Mrs Ilott and excluded her from her will, making it clear she did not want her daughter to inherit anything.

The Court of Appeal has now determined that Mrs Ilott, who has 5 children, was not given a reasonable provision from the estate for her future maintenance as she was on benefits and had no pension. They also added that Mrs Jackson had "no connection" with the charities during her lifetime. Mrs Ilott was awarded £143,000 to buy the rented home she lives in from a housing association and a further £20,000 in cash as "additional income". This constituted an increase from the £50,000 awarded in the High Court.

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