Daughter Awarded £164,000 in claim over Mother’s Estate
The Court of Appeal have awarded a daughter who was left out of her mother’s Will £164,000. Mrs Jackson’s Will split her estate, worth nearly half a million, equally between three animal charities, purposefully excluding her daughter, Heather Ilott.
After a ten year battle, the Court of Appeal increased the award to the Ms Ilott from £55,000 to £164,000. Mrs Jackson had fallen out with her daughter many years previously, when she ran away with her boyfriend aged 17. Ms Ilott, now 54, and with five children of her own, was said to be poverty-stricken, struggling to afford food and clothing for her family. It was argued that attempts at reconciliation between the mother and daughter were constantly undermined by Mrs Jackson.
The Court ruled that the increased award was fair in light of Ms Ilott’s circumstances and basic human needs.
Challenging a will
The case raises questions on the ability to challenge Wills for being deliberately unreasonable or unfair to members of the deceased’s family.
Further factors were taken into account, including evidence showing that a large proportion of assets in the estate were derived from Mr Jackson’s wages and compensation awarded after his death. Mr Jackson was killed in an industrial accident two months after Ms Illott was born.
The Court also commented on the lack of connection between Mrs Jackson and the charities she had divided her estate between. The Charities were both surprised and disappointed by the decision.
The case demonstrates the need to clearly consider the implications of a Will, and where necessary, ensuring the reasoning behind the Will is recorded.
The full judgement for this case was published on the Judiciary website on 27th July 2015
As of March 2016 we understand that this case is now due to be reconsidered by the Supreme Court.