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Ilott v The Blue Cross and others -The Supreme Court

Opening arguments on a somewhat controversial case begin today at the Supreme Court no, not Brexit but the case of Illott (Respondent) v The Blue Cross and others (Appellants)

Whether or not a Will makes reasonable provision for a beneficiary and the grounds upon which a claim can be brought ought to be settled by the highest court in the land soon.

Heather Ilott, who is in her fifties, had successfully won at the Court of Appeal against her mother’s, Melita Jacksons, estate. Mrs Jackson died in 2004 and her daughter had brought a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  She had been disinherited from her mother’s £500,000 Estate with everything passing between three animal charities, Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Charities opposed the claim and the matter went to court.

To the surprise of many, in 2007 DJ Million awarded Mrs Ilot, a mother of five, claiming benefits as a means to supplement her husband’s low wage, an award of £50,000. The High Court set aside this decision which was overturned by the Court of Appeal. One of the factors the Court took into consideration was the fact that her mother’s estate included the assets of her late father (who had died before she was born) and thus with whom Heather had no argument. Ultimately, Mrs Illot was awarded £143,000, enough to buy her home with surplus capital as income.

The Supreme Court is being asked by the Charities to decide whether the Court of Appeal erred in its decision to approach on maintenance on the basis of Mrs Illott’s living standards was wrong. It will also decide whether the Court of Appeal incorrectly structured its award to enable Mrs Illot to continue claiming state benefits.