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Charities to appeal Supreme Court in inheritance dispute

Charities to appeal Supreme Court in inheritance dispute

Blue Cross, RSPB and RSPCA have been given permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s 2015 decision to award £163,000 of a charitable estate to the legator’s daughter.

The money was awarded to Mrs Heather Ilott who challenged the will of her mother, Mrs Melita Jackson. This is the first time the Supreme Court will be asked to consider the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

According to a Supreme Court statement, the majority of the deceased’s estate was left to the three charities in her will, which made no provision for her only child, Mrs Ilott, following an estrangement. Mrs Ilott made an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from her late mother’s estate and was awarded the sum at the Court of Appeal.

James Aspden, head of contentious trust and probate at Wilsons, which represents the charities said:

“The Supreme Court will only hear an appeal in exceptional circumstances, where the issues it raises are of general public importance. The charities are delighted to have been given permission to do this so that the Supreme Court can provide essential guidance on the scope of the court’s powers under the Inheritance Act, and clarify the other important issues this case has highlighted.”

The Supreme Court is likely to hear the case in early 2017.

Remember a Charity has also welcomed the decision. Its chair Alex McDowell said:

“The potential impact of a lost legacy can be considerable for charities who are both duty bound to defend their legal entitlements and who rely on the kindness of individuals who have chosen to donate through their will. Contested wills are becoming more common, so it is important to minimise doubt and reduce the likelihood of a legal battle by encouraging donors to seek professional advice and for any legacy donations to be well documented.”


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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