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Supreme Court win for charities in Ilott v Blue Cross case

15 March 2017

The Supreme Court has today found in favour of various charities in the long-running Ilott v Blue Cross case which focused on the tension between legislation and the freedom of a person to make the will they want.

In brief the case centred on an estranged and impoverished daughter whose mother had left the bulk of her estate to various charities, intentionally making no provision for her daughter. The daughter made a claim under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family Dependants) Act for failure by her mother to make reasonable provision for her, and was awarded £50,000 by the District Judge for her maintenance. The daughter appealed this was not enough, and the award as increased by the Court of Appeal to £143,000 to buy the family home and additional £20,000 maintenance.

The charities appealed against the increase in the award (but not against the original award). In upholding the charities’ appeal, the Supreme Court makes clear that the Court of Appeal placed too much weight on the legislation and not enough on the mother’s clear wish and intention not to provide for her daughter. The judgment will be a relief for those struggling with difficult family situations who wish their last will and testament to reflect their views in life.

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