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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 2 OF 2)

Will claim Solicitors, specialist no win no fee will dispute and will contest Solicitors, provide the second of two updates 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 (part 2)

This is a continuation of the list of decisions in the last year or so and a summary of that decision.

Rochford v Rochford 2020

Here the deceased left a very small estate of only £193,000. The Claimant was the only child of the deceased. She had proposed a Mediation but the Defendant (who was the deceased’s sister) had refused saying the claim was hopeless and that the disclosure provided by the Claimant was inadequate. A trial was inevitable. At trial the Claimant was awarded £85,000 as well as her legacy of £25,000 and because she beat a CPR 36 she received her costs on an indemnity basis (which means that they are difficult to challenge) an additional 10% on the award for beating the offer and interest of 5% on the unpaid sum.

The case of Rochford then highlights the dangers of not engaging in ADR which includes “mediation”. Please see our earlier blog below for information about this:

https://www.willclaim.com/contesting-a-will-the-danger-of-not-negotiating/

In the estate of R April 2021

For a complete copy of this decision please go to:

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2021/936.html

This was a claim by two minor children one of whom reached 18 during the litigation. Their father had divorced their mother about six or seven years before. The main defendant was the deceased’s new partner. The Will left everything to her (and the deceased’s parents) and made no provision for his children at all. The estate was worth between about £643,000 and £813,000. After the divorce the Claimant’s mother and married someone else who had assets of £2.9m. The Defendants claimed that the deceased had no obligation to maintain his children as his ex-wife had cut off all contact and she had chosen not to seek child maintenance. The Court did not agree. The obligation to maintain minor children existed regardless of whether the parent with responsibility/custody pursued it. However it found that the deceased’s estate should not have the totality of responsibility and therefore made awards based on a theoretical 50%.

Miles v Shearer 2021

This case is reported at:

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2021/1000.html

Here the Claimants were the deceased’s two daughters. His Will left everything to his second wife. The estate was valued at £2.19m but that did not include jointly owned properties in Kew and Provence which passed to the wife by survivorship. The Court did not consider the Claimants to be good witnesses. They had both gone through marriages and divorces and had not been financially supported by the deceased during their adult lives. They both appeared to have quite substantial capital and one worked for Sotheby’s and was on a reasonable income. Neither was found by the court to have a reasonable need for financial provision from their late father’s estate and their claims were dismissed.

NOTE: this blog is the second of two on this subject.

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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