Ilott v Mitson: The Importance of a Properly Drafted Will
15 Jun 2015
Daughter wins Â£164,000 after decade-long legal battle over will with charities.
When Melita Jackson died in 2004, she specifically stated in her last will that her daughter, Heather Ilott, was not to benefit from her estate. Her £486,000 estate was left to The Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and she donated £5,000 to the BBC Benevolent Fund.
The relationship between mother and daughter soured when, aged 17, Heather Ilott eloped with her future husband. Mrs Ilott, now 54, who was an only child born two months after her father died in an accident, had in 2007 won the right to an inheritance of £50,000 after a district judge concluded she had been "unreasonably" excluded by her mother.
In July 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled she was entitled to a third of the estate because her mother hadn't left "reasonable provision" for her in the will.
It has always been important for individuals to consider the impact of the law when drafting a will, especially when considering disinheriting one or more family members. This ruling reinforces the importance of taking professional advice when preparing a will and regularly revising and updating the will itself. Further, if particular family members are to be disinherited, a properly drafted letter of wishes ought to be considered.
If you require legal advice or guidance drafting your will, please contact one of our wills and probate solicitors from the private client team at Hewitt and Gilpin Belfast on 028 90 573 573.