In July 2015 we reported that the Court of Appeal had increased the amount awarded from the estate of a deceased mother in favour of her disinherited estranged daughter. The Supreme Court has now reversed that decision, reverting to the original County Court award.
Mrs Ilott was originally successfully awarded £50,000 in the County Court by claiming the deceased had not made sufficient financial provision for her in the Will. The claim was made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act). This award was later increased by the Court of Appeal to £163,000. The charities, who were the original beneficiaries of the deceased’s Will, successfully appealed the ruling.
This ruling is important as it is the first 1975 Act claim to reach the country’s highest Court. It lays down clear guidance, which was previously lacking, as to the requirements of a successful 1975 Act claim (especially by an adult child of the deceased) and the amount which is deemed “reasonable financial provision”.
Hugh Cumber, who has acted for Sherrards in the past, and Penelope Reed QC of 5 Stone Buildings acted on behalf of the charities. Hugh Cumber commented “practitioners will find this decision to be of considerable value; the Supreme Court gives guidance on the “maintenance” standard which applies to most claims under the 1975 Act. It is now clear that making reasonable provision for “maintenance” does not means providing everything the applicant reasonably needs, and the Supreme Court’s judgment makes clear that an applicant’s needs will not necessarily be the measure of an award under the Act. In this case the Claimant’s estrangement weighed against her claim.”
If you have any questions about 1975 Act claims or Wills in general please contact on Raveet Phull Raveet.Phull@sherrards.com or 01727 832830.
Hugh Cumber is a barrister at 5 Stone Buildings
020 7242 6201 firstname.lastname@example.org