On Wednesday, 15 March 2017, the Supreme Court overturned a decision to increase the sum of money left to a woman by her estranged mother, who left her entire £500,000 estate to three animal charities, in the long running case of Ilott v Mitson.
Mrs Ilott initially made an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from her late mother’s estate, most of which had been left to charity. 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 final Supreme Court judgment overturned the Court of Appeal ruling.
Richard Kershaw, Partner in the Family Department at Hunters Solicitors, commented in The Times Law Brief:
“Overturning the judgment in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court has proven not only that charities litigating out of principle and precedent outweigh an undeniable personal need, but have also instilled that charity should not necessarily begin at home.”
Read the article in The Times Law Brief here.