On Monday, 12 December 2016, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal brought by three charities in the long running case of Ilott v Mitson. The claim was initially brought by a daughter against her mother’s estate, most of which had been left to charity. The charities lost in the Court of Appeal and now seek to overturn that judgment.
Mrs Jackson died in 2004. By her will, she left the majority of her estate valued at £486,000 to three charities (the appellants). The will made no provision for Mrs Jackson’s only child, Mrs Ilott (the respondent). Mother and daughter had become estranged many years before and their attempts at reconciliation had failed.
Mrs Ilott made an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from her late mother’s estate. In 2007, DJ Million made an award in Mrs Ilott’s favour of £50,000. Mrs Ilott appealed against the amount of this award. In July 2015, the Court of Appeal allowed Mrs Ilott’s appeal, setting aside DJ Million’s award and substituting its own award of (a) £143,000, to enable Mrs Ilott to purchase her housing association home, (b) the reasonable costs of the purchase, and (c) payments up to a maximum of £20,000 structured in a way that would allow Mrs Ilott to preserve her state benefits. The charities now appeal to the Supreme Court.
Richard Kershaw, Partner at Hunters, commented:
“This is a matter of precedent for the charities but a matter of real need for Mrs. Ilott. If the Supreme Court upholds the Court of Appeal, it will push the door ajar and encourage many more cases of this kind in future.”