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Despite some experts criticising the challenging of the will, many have stated that the challenge was legal and in line with the law, with the judge ruling that Melita Jackson had no connection to the charities in the will. Lady Justice Arden said on the matter “The appellant was the only child of the deceased and she was deprived of any expectation primarily because Mrs Jackson had acted in an unreasonable and capricious and harsh way towards her child.”
A daughter has won a landmark case in England after she challenged her mother’s will after she was omitted from her will.
Heather Ilott challenged her mother Melita Jackson’s will after she passed her £486,000 estate to numerous animal charities when she died. As a result of the challenge, Heather Ilott was awarded £164,000 as her mother had failed to leave a “reasonable provision” for her in her will, with the judge stating that she was “unreasonably” left out of the will. The ruling comes despite Melita’s will being clear that her daughter was not to be included in the will, with the will being updated just two years before her death in 2004.
Mrs Ilott, who is an only child, was removed from her mother’s will after she eloped at the age of 17.
Despite some experts criticising the challenge of the will, many have stated that the challenge was legal and in line with the law, with the judge ruling that Melita Jackson had no connection to the charities in the will. Lady Justice Arden said on the matter “The appellant was the only child of the deceased and she was deprived of any expectation primarily because Mrs Jackson had acted in an unreasonable and capricious and harsh way towards her child.”
Without the ruling Mrs Ilott would face poverty, with her straitened circumstances meaning that she had never had a holiday, had difficulty affording food for her five children, and could only afford old or second-hand clothes.
Concerns Over the Challenge
Some experts, however, warned that the ruling could lead to more challenges in England following exclusions from wills. According to some those who are disillusioned about inheritance could challenge the ruling.
The solicitors for the charities stated that it was a "worrying decision for anyone who values having the freedom to choose who will receive their property when they die".
If you require legal advice regarding creating or challenging a will, contact us today using our online contact form.
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