Landmark case on making a Will

‘Testamentary freedom’ upheld by the Supreme Court in Illot v Mitson

Following an estranged daughter challenging her late mother’s Will, that had left the majority of her estate to three charities, the Supreme Court have reduced the daughter’s initial payout.

The late Mrs Jackson had been estranged from her daughter, Heather Illot, for many years and following her death, her daughter launched a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for her mother’s failure to make reasonable financial provision for her in the Will.

Mrs Illot, having the benefit of Counsel's representation on a pro bono basis, had previously been awarded a six figure sum by the Court of Appeal.  However, this was overturned by the Supreme Court earlier this month.  Mrs Illot's share was reduced significantly, to the figure originally awarded by the District Judge at the initial trial of the matter. 

The case gives very clear guidance on the interpretation of the law as it currently stands.  This case also re-affirms the principle of testamentary freedom, reminding donors that they are able to choose who should benefit from their Will and reassuring them that wishes should be respected.

It is important to remember however, that a Will should be drafted by a professional, leaving no room for doubt or ambiguity


If you are considering drafting a Will or reviewing an existing Will, please get in touch with our private client department.


March 2017



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