Disinheriting your children? Ilott v Mitson

The Court of Appeal has handed down an interesting judgment on challenges to wills…

The law

Section 1 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 confers the right on, among others, a child of a deceased person in England and Wales to apply for an order under section 2 of the Act if the will of the deceased or the intestacy rules do not make reasonable provision for him or her, while section 1(2)(b) provides that, in the case of a child, “reasonable financial provision” means
 ”such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his maintenance” [emphasis added]. The provision is therefore limited to awards of maintenance – which is not the case for awards under the 1975 Act for spouses or civil partners. Section 2(1) of the Act empowers the court, if satisfied that the disposition of the deceased’s estate does not make reasonable financial provision for the applicant, to make an order for periodical payments to the applicant out of the net estate and/or payment of a lump sum.

The facts

In Ilott v Mitson & Ors [2015] EWCA Civ 797 the appellant, Mrs Ilott, was the 46-year-old estranged daughter of Mrs Melita Jackson, who died in 2004 leaving a will by which, apart from £5,000 for the BBC Benevolent Fund, she left her entire estate of some £486,000 to be divided between The Blue Cross, the RSPB and the RSPCA. Continue reading