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Landmark Court of Appeal ruling could change wills

28th July 2015

Court of Appeal ruling could change wills
A landmark court ruling that has seen a woman be given £164,000 from her estranged mother’s estate could have a long-lasting impact on the way wills are drawn up.

Solicitors working in in-house legal jobs and positions will surely be engulfed with queries from clients after Heather Ilott, of Ware, went to court following her mother’s decision to leave her £486,000 estate to animal charities when she died in 2004.

The Court of Appeal this week ruled that the daughter should receive a third of her mother’s estate and now many experts believe the ruling could weaken people’s right to leave money to the people or organisations they want to. Although people will still be able to disinherit their children, they now have to give reasons why they are leaving money to the people, charities or businesses and what connection they have with them.

The court heard Mrs Ilott had left home at just 17 to be with her boyfriend and that her mother had not forgiven her and therefore left her estate to the RSPCA, RSPB and Blue Cross charities, of which she had no connection to.

As a result of the mother not leaving "reasonable provision" for her daughter, Mrs Ilott was awarded £164,000, which she has now said will be spent on buying her housing association property.