And So, Our Unelected Judiciary Takes Us A Step Closer To Europe…

After a decade-long legal fight with three animal welfare charities over her mother’s decision to cut her out of any inheritance, a poverty-stricken daughter has finally been awarded £164,000 by senior judges.

The ruling by the court of appeal is further evidence that wills deemed to be unreasonable can be overturned or varied by the courts.

Want to cut that wastrel son or daughter out of your will? Well, now you can’t. Just as in France.

Jackson, who died aged 70 in 2004, never forgave her daughter, 54, for eloping with her boyfriend when she was only 17, the court in London heard. She left her daughter nothing, bequeathing instead her estate, worth nearly £500,000, to three charities: The Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.In 2007, the county court first awarded Ilott £50,000 on the grounds that her mother had acted in an “unreasonable, capricious and harsh” way to her daughter.

Who are you to decide where your money should go after death? You clearly aren’t rational, no matter if you did leave clear instructions when you were undoubtedly of sound mind…

It was not Ilott’s fault that her mother took against her, said the QC. “Heather had an unreasonable, capricious and harsh mother. Mrs Jackson took offence at Heather’s choices although they were choices she was entitled to make and it was reasonable to expect her mother to accept.

The daughter was entitled to make choices. Her mother clearly wasn’t. And so the courts strip away any agency we have, even after death.


8 comments for “And So, Our Unelected Judiciary Takes Us A Step Closer To Europe…

  1. Greg Tingey
    July 29, 2015 at 10:36 am

    If you give good, solid reasons & explanations, you can still cut someone off without a penny.
    It’s just that you can’t do it arbitrarily, with no “backing” explanation/documentation

    • July 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm


      I am not sure what your ‘NOT QUITE’ refers to, but if your decision is clear, there should be no obligation to explain or justify it to anyone.

      What if (say) a child had raped the parent, it had always been kept secret, and they wanted to disinherit but didn’t want the rape made public?

      You demand they must explain! Or think they should lie to get their way by trickery just to satisfy Judges?

      It is not for others to over rule freely made decisions of those of sound mind.

      • Brightside Bob
        July 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

        “It is not for others to over rule freely made decisions of those of sound mind.”

        Depends on whether they vote the ‘wrong’ way in a referendum…

  2. July 29, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    As with any Court, the truth and the motive, intent and wishes do not matter a jot. What matters are the lawyers’ arguments. The daughter had the ability to brief her brief but the dead mother didn’t. Judges judge the relative persuasions of the Lawyers. Who argues best, (or most – quantity = quality ) wins. That is what passes for Justice.

  3. July 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    All the more reason to dispose of it before you die.

    Just don’t get rid of it all at eighty and then live to one hundred.

  4. Rossa
    July 29, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    There was a little more to it than that. The inheritance was considered to have come from her father as well who had died before she was born. Therefore the judges ruled that not all of the money originated with the mother. Probably why they didn’t award her the entire amount. Also the mother had had no previous relationship with the charities she chose to leave the money to which helped to support the argument that the mother was capricious.

    It is very rare for a Will to be overturned by adult children. It’s usually where there are dependents or those that need financial support.

    On the other side of the coin I do wonder where the daughter got the money to pursue this case through the Courts for so long. She was supposed to be of limited financial means. So then who funded it? Was it no win no fee? Is the estate liable for her costs? In which case she may receive a smaller amount than the headline suggests. And the total amount exceeds the IHT allowance so there is/was a tax bill to pay.

    I think the ‘why?’ may be more obvious as this has set a precedent. Who, other than this claimant, benefits from this judgement.

  5. July 30, 2015 at 7:15 am

    As usual, too many what-ifs and unknown factors in this one.

  6. DICK R
    July 30, 2015 at 7:30 am

    The fake charities are a disgrace not only do they rely on public funding but take advantage of wills that were maybe drawn up in a fit of anger ,or the delusions of dementia ,often leaving blameless sons and daughters disinherited often after years of caring for unreasonable and vindictive parents with stoic patience and good humour .

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