Tim Watson, Solicitor at Brewer Harding & Rowe and a member of our Contentious Probate Team, has recently prepared an article for local magazine My Town. The article explains why Contentious Probate claims are on the increase. The full article is set out below.
After much anticipation, the Court of Appeal has finally given its decision in the now infamous claim of Ilott v Mitson. Miss Ilott had been estranged from her mother for many years. When her mother died, she left an estate worth £486,000. In her Will, she left the entire £486,000 to three charities. She left nothing for her daughter, Miss Ilott, because the relationship had broken down many years previously and the two did not get on. Despite not expecting to receive a penny from her mother’s Estate, Miss Ilott made an application under the Inheritance (Provision for family and Dependants) Act 1975. The basis of the claim was that her mother’s Will was unfair and that she should receive some money from the Estate. The charities sought to defend the claim. Initially, the Court agreed with Miss Ilott and awarded her £50,000 from her mother’s Estate. After appeals from both sides, the Court of Appeal decided that Miss Ilott was entitled to over £150,000 from the Estate. It confirmed that, despite her mother specifically excluding her daughter from her Will, she still needed to make reasonable financial provision for her and the only way to do so was to provide her with sufficient funds to purchase her own home.
Whilst each case must be decided on its facts, the case of Ilott v Mitson demonstrates that it is possible to challenge a Will and whether it makes reasonable provision even if there has been a specific exclusion. Our Contentious Probate Team are very experienced in dealing with claims under the Inheritance (Provision for family and Dependants) Act 1975. We act for people either bringing or defending such claims. Please contact us for further information.
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