Hot off the press! Supreme Court speaks today on inheritance claims

Oliver Wooding from St John’s Chambers provides a very helpful ‘5 Quick Hits’ from the Supreme Court’s decision in Ilott v Mitson which came to a conclusion today.  

This appeal is the first time the Inheritance Act 1975 has been considered by the highest court in the land. The case centres on Mrs Ilott’s claim for provision against the estate of her estranged mother, who left her estate (worth £486,000) to three charities. 

The judge dealing with the claim in the County Court awarded Mrs Ilott £50,000 as reasonable provision. Although on appeal this was increased to £163,000, that decision (of the Court of Appeal) was overturned, and the initial award reinstated.

Highlights seem to be: 

* There is still no authoritative guidance on claims by adult children. 

* Whether the outcome of the will is unreasonable and if so, what provision would be reasonable – is a question a judge at first instance is best placed to decide. 

* The Court’s role is to decide financial provision for ‘maintenance’, not focused on capital assets (i.e. a property), 

Click on the link for Oliver’s full article: 

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal and re-instated the original award of DJ Million of £50,000.  Lady Hale provides an additional judgment in support.  The district judge did not fail to take into account Mrs Ilott’s tax position nor did he give inadequate reasons for his decision.