July 30, 2015

City law firm reacts to landmark inheritance case

City-based solicitors Royds has said that a Court of Appeal decision to grant part of a mother’s estate to her disinherited daughter should not dissuade people from making a Will.

In a ruling which has received widespread press coverage, Heather Ilott was awarded £164,000 from the estate of her late mother Melita Jackson.

This was in spite of the fact that when Mrs Jackson died in 2004, she had made it her expressed wish that the £486,000 estate be divided between three wildlife charities.

Some predict that the case may pave the way for more Wills being challenged in court.

Tony Millson, head of Royds’ Private Client team, said: “This is a ruling that has inevitably attracted a lot of interest and raised a number of questions about the extent to which courts should be able to alter a person’s wishes after their death.

“It is important to stress that there were some exceptional circumstances in this case. Mrs Jackson had made no provision for her daughter and left the money to charities with whom she had no connection during her lifetime.

“Had detailed instructions been left as to why Mrs Jackson had chosen to leave her estate to these organisations in particular, it may have led to the courts coming to a different decision.

“Far from negating the need to make a Will, this case illustrates the importance of seeking expert legal advice when putting your affairs in order.”

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