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Wills And Probate Case Update

*** CASE UPDATE ***

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Ilott v Blue Cross (formerly the Ilott v Mitson case) finally came out yesterday, after the case was heard back in December 2016.

By way of a quick reminder, this is the case concerning the daughter who challenged her mother’s will after it had completely cut her out and left everything (around £486,000) to three charities.

The case originally began back in 2007 and has been in and out the Courts ever since - most recently in the Court of Appeal in 2015, where the daughter, Mrs Ilott, was awarded £143,000 to buy her house plus access to a further £20,000. The charities though appealed this decision and so off it went to the Supreme Court.

Anyway the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday overruled the Court of Appeal’s decision, reinstating the original judgment made by the District Judge back in 2007 who had awarded Mrs Ilott £50,000.

Whilst this decision is to be commended, in that it has overruled the much criticised Court of Appeal decision, I can’t help but feel that it doesn’t go far enough. Indeed it had been hoped that the decision would provide authoritative guidance on how courts, from now on, decide claims made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 but instead, we’ve just ended up being told that it is a matter for judicial discretion, and that different judges might decide cases in different ways and still be correct.

So the decision seemingly does nothing to alleviate the uncertainty surrounding ‘inheritance claims’ and it will be interesting to see what happens going forward, and how courts apply Illot v Blue Cross in deciding cases. It seems we may have reached a point where legislative intervention is now required, in order to try and clear this all up, but the question though is will this happen any time soon, with Parliament clearly preoccupied with Brexit.

Article Date: 31/03/2017

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