Dignam-Thomas & anr v McCourt & anr [2024] WTLR 105

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2024 #194

The claimant sisters (aged 61 and 68) applied under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for provision out of the estate of their late father. The sole asset in the estate was the deceased’s home in which his son and sole beneficiary of his will, the second defendant (aged 72), continued to reside. The second defendant did not engage with the proceedings despite repeated service of court orders and correspondence, and concerns were raised as to his capacity to litigate. Trials were twice adjourned for capacity assessments to be undertaken, but the secon...

Kaur v Singh & ors [2023] WTLR 569

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2023 #191

Mr Karnail Singh (the testator) died on 21 August 2021. The claimant was his wife. They had been married since 1955 and had seven children (one of whom was deceased). All of the children were adults. The claimant had played a full role in the marriage both as wife and working in the family business without receiving a stake in it or a salary. The claimant was financially dependent on the testator who met all family outgoings. The testator’s estate was estimated to be worth about £1.9m, the entirety of the family wealth having been built up during the marriage.

The claimant was 83 ...

Antonio v Williams & anr [2023] WTLR 1

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2023 #190

The claimant was born on 2 January 2010. His mother did not look after him and social services arranged for him to be taken from hospital to the home of his father’s sister (the deceased) and grandmother, the second defendant, at 42 Chestnut Rise, Woolwich. The claimant’s father was unable to contribute much to his care as he was imprisoned soon after his birth and burdened by significant debt. Thus, it was the deceased who contributed most to the maintenance of the claimant, who continued to live with her there until she died on 11 February 2016. By her will, made a day before her death...

Succession: Cultural approaches to protection in succession law

Dr Diane Le Grand de Belleroche compares the new French withholding rights with the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 While the new French withholding rights (‘prélèvement compensatoire‘) can, in some situations, benefit ‘each child, or his heirs or successors in title’, the Inheritance Act 1975 provides for more categories of applicants and …
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Fennessy v Turner & anr [2022] WTLR 1295

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2022 #189

The claim concerned the estate of Hazel Valerie Fennessy who had died on 2 February 2020 at the age of 78. The claimant was the deceased’s son. The deceased’s other child, Heidi, predeceased her by approximately six weeks.

The deceased’s will dated 24 January 2012 left her entire estate to Heidi and appointed her as sole executrix. It provided that if Heidi predeceased then the whole estate was left to the defendant, June Turner, who was also appointed as sole executrix.

Probate was granted on 26 October 2020. The value of the estate was stated as £342,075 (gross) and £336,...

Inheritance Act: Good timing

Laura Abbott and Andrew Bishop examine a landmark case that establishes that a claim against an estate as a dependant can be made pre-grant, and that parental responsibility exists without being a step-parent Antonio is a significant case because it confirms the court can and will consider applications and make orders pre-grant. The Inheritance (Provision …
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Batstone v Batstone [2022] WTLR 835

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2022 #188

The claim was brought pursuant to s1(1)(c) of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 against the estate of John Nicholas Batstone Deceased (the deceased). The claimant was the deceased’s adult daughter by his first marriage. The defendant was the deceased’s widow and executor.

The deceased died on 31 March 2019, domiciled in England and Wales and leaving a will dated 2 December 2017. The total net value of the estate was £326,121, consisting of:

  1. (i) a 50% share in a residential property, co-owned with the defendant and valued ...

The 1975 Act: The status of adult claims and the treatment of conditional success fees

Adult claims under the 1975 Act often require more than need and a relevant relationship. Cameron Stocks explains Financial need plus relevant relationship will not always be enough. It will often be the case that there will need to be ‘something more’ to justify an award being made. The decision in Batstone v Batstone [2022] …
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Higgins v Morgan & ors [2022] WTLR 153

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2022 #186

The claimant, Mr Higgins, brought a claim for reasonable provision out of the estate of the deceased, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act), in his capacity as a person who, although not a child of the deceased, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family, within the meaning of s1(1)(d) of the 1975 Act. Mr Higgins’ mother had married the deceased when he was aged nine, and he had continued to reside with the deceased after his mother and the deceased divorced, at which time the deceased had been gr...

Claims by adult child beneficiaries: Is there any hope after Miles v Shearer?

Amanda Noyce reviews the latest cases under the 1975 Act and summarises the lessons on funding such claims With regard to adult able-bodied children, there is a need to ‘prove something more’ than just the qualifying relationship. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ is a great self-motivational message – until there’s an inheritance involved. …
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