Well-publicised inheritance battle reaches the highest court

A long-running inheritance dispute was heard at the Supreme Court this month.

Ilott v The Blue Cross and others concerns the estate of Melita Jackson, who left around £500,000 assets to animal charities when she passed away in 2004.

Her estranged daughter Heather Ilott had subsequently made a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. She argued that her mother had not made “reasonable provision.”

The courts agreed, ruling that she should receive a £50,000 settlement, which increased almost three-fold following an appeal.

Now however, the animal charities which were the original beneficiaries of Ms Jackson’s Will – the Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the RSPCA – have gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the previous hearing.

In a joint statement, the charities said: “[We] look forward to the resulting clarity this should bring for the charity sector as a whole, as well as the renewed confidence a clear decision at the highest level will give those making their Wills that their wishes will be respected.”

Will disputes are often complicated and acrimonious affairs. For expert advice please contact Dispute Resolution Partner Ian Pearl or visit our website.

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