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CONTESTING A WILL WITH WILLCLAIM SOLICITORS NO WIN NO FEE SPECIALISTS – UPDATE ON ADULT AND MINOR CHILDREN CLAIMS UNDER THE 1975 ACT (PART 1 OF 2)

Will claim Solicitors, specialist no win no fee will dispute and will contest Solicitors, provide an update on adult and minor children claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

What does the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 do?

In England and Wales an individual has an inalienable right to leave his or her estate to anyone or however that person sees fit. As this could result in a situation where certain dependants (wife, children) were left impoverished, various “family provision” Acts were made by Parliament to enable that “unfair” or “unreasonable” situation to be rectified in certain limited circumstances. The latest manifestation of this is the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63

For a little more information in particular in relation to the difficulties of making such a claim as an adult child, please see our earlier blog at:

https://www.willclaim.com/contesting-a-will-with-willclaim-com-does-an-adult-child-need-to-have-a-moral-claim-to-win/

The strongest claims under the 1975 Act are generally by:
• Dependant spouses (wives or husbands)
• Dependant children (but usually minor children)
• Other dependants (usually someone who was living with or was supported by the deceased and to a substantial extent).

Update on adult and minor children claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

What follows is a list of recent decisions in the last year or so and a summary of that decision.

Shapton v Seviour 6 April 2020

A very good commentary on this case appears on the Law Society Gazette:

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/commentary-and-opinion/probate-are-too-many-hopeless-contentious-cases-being-settled/5103830.article

We also reviewed it last year:

https://www.willclaim.com/contesting-a-will-the-shapton-v-seviour-issue/

In this case the deceased (who had been married before) died leaving a widow whom he had been married to for 17 years and a modest estate of £268,000 of which £215,000 was his half share in the matrimonial home. He left his entire estate to his wife. She had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and by the date of the hearing was wheelchair bound. The claim was made by one of the deceased’s adult children from the previous marriage. She had two very young children and both she and her husband worked but she was on maternity leave. She was unable to demonstrate any real need – for instance she claimed she could not afford holidays and yet she and her husband had had several (luxurious) holidays. The Court found that the deceased’s widow needed the whole estate. The application was described as “absolutely hopeless”. One suspects the unsuccessful child was ordered to pay the widow’s costs.

Re H (Deceased) 7 May 2020

The whole case can be found at:

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2020/1134.html

This was a claim by the 50 year old daughter of the deceased whose Will left the estate to his wife and who, at the time of the hearing, was in a care home. The Claimant had lived at home until she was 30. She had then gone to university and subsequently had two children by her partner. She had profound post-natal depression. She had had long standing psychological problems and had been estranged from her family for the last 20 years. She was on benefits, she lived in a rented flat which was too small for her and she needed psychiatric treatment. She received a substantial award (of £138,918) based on the finding that notwithstanding the estrangement, her current debilitating mental health problems had caused her difficult financial state rather than any “fault” on her part. The case is significant in that a success fee which was associated with the no win no fee arrangement she had with her lawyers was accepted by the court as a capital need even though it was not something which the estate could have been ordered to pay as part of a costs order.

NOTE: this blog is the first of two on this subject the second of which will follow shortly.

If you consider any of these facts and matters are of interest, are likely to apply to you, or you would like to ask us for more information about our no win no fee arrangement, or you simply want us to assess your claim, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential no strings chat and/or visit us at www.willclaim.com.

We provide details about our no win no fee arrangements at https://www.willclaim.com/no-win-no-fee/.

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