How “Undeserving” Adult Children Can Win Financial Provision
Will claim Solicitors, specialist no win no fee will dispute and will contest Solicitors, consider whether “undeserving” adult children can win financial provision
What is financial provision for adult children in relation to will dispute and will contest claims
Adult children can bring claims against a deceased’s parents estate under s. 2 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, notwithstanding they have not been maintained or may even be estranged from the particular parent in question. Our earlier blog as follows refers:
To be clear, when we refer to “undeserving” we are casting no aspersions about the individual cases or case referred to; we are simply saying that there is no obvious reason for the adult child to be able to bring and win a claim (because he/she wasn’t financially dependent and/or often particularly close to the parent in question).
So is there a pattern of winnable adult claims
In general, winnable adult claims, tend to fall into a particular pattern. In general the adult children who can win these claims have severe financial problems (or foreseeable problems – in the future) associated with either illness and/or care for another. In other words, the financial issues are generally not caused by any fault on the part of the adult child.
Further and/or in addition, a winnable adult claim could also be one where it can be shown that poor parenting and/or neglect when the adult child was a minor has caused issues in later life associated with poor health and/or poor finances.
The slightly unusual case of “Larsen and Annan v Annan  EWHC 662 (Ch)
This decision was slightly unusual on the facts – but is a clear indicator of how risky these claims can be for both parties. They are risky because claims for financial provision under the
Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 are determined by the Court in reference to guidance provided under s. 3, which allows for the exercise of a very wide
discretion. Larsen/Annan above is a case in point:
These were claims by two brothers, Wayne and Russell. Wayne’s claim failed but Russell’s succeeded. The following are extracts from the Judgment by Mr Justice Zacaroli [or my commentary on them]:
- Russell was chronically disabled, suffering from Crohn’s disease, anxiety and spondylitis
- Critically, he was dependent on help for everyday tasks
- The entirety of his income was derived from benefits but he was a profligate gambler (which he didn’t apparently fess up to and which only came to light during the course of the proceedings) and was otherwise able to live within his means
- unsurprisingly then the court found he didn’t have immediate financial needs and the limited provision provided to him by the Will (of £10,000) was sufficient
- Nevertheless and notwithstanding his claim for care costs, need for care and the provision available from the estate was not properly set out in evidence, he was awarded a sum for future care provision in the form of a discretionary trust. I have taken the following extracts directly from the case:
“I nevertheless consider that taking into account his disabilities he is unlikely to be able to cover such care costs as will arise in the foreseeable future as his condition worsens so, to that extent, he has satisfied the necessary condition that his needs are not met. No evidence was produced as to the level of state care that would be available for him, but I am prepared to accept that it is unlikely to rise above a level of subsistence and that some expense is likely to be needed to maintain Russell’s quality of life.”
“As to what would amount to reasonable financial provision in this respect, the evidence is extremely thin. There is no evidence of the likely cost of care, save that private care visits are said to cost in the region of £30 per visit. The only quantification of any amount in Russell’s evidence is that he says he would like to have a fund of £25,000 so that he could afford to pay his relatives £10 per visit they make to him for the next 20 years. There is no evidence that his relatives require payment, or would not be prepared to look after him if they could not be paid. On the other hand, I do not think that it is fair to assume that such family support will continue indefinitely. His nephews and nieces are likely to develop their own lives and families, and may move away.“
Paras 100 and 101
“That leaves the form in which such provision should be made. Mr Knight submitted that the sum should be placed in trust so as not to diminish Russell’s entitlement to state benefits. In the absence of any evidence or submissions as to the impact of a trust on Russell’s entitlement to benefits, I am prepared to accept that if the money is placed into a discretionary trust then it would achieve that objective. In any event, I think that such an arrangement is justified for the separate reason that making a gift outright to Russell would be inappropriate in light of his admitted past gambling
problems, and my finding that when he has the funds to do so is he still spending a significant amount on gambling.
Accordingly, I will order that the sum of £25,000 is to be held on discretionary trust, the terms being that it is to be made available where in the discretion of the trustee it is required to cover care costs for Russell. In the event of Russell’s death before the trust fund is exhausted, then the fund will revert to Heather. I will hear further from counsel on the precise terms of the trust and the identity of the trustee.“
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.
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