Shapton v Seviour

WTLR Issue: Autumn 2020 #180

In the matter of: IN THE ESTATE OF THE LATE COLIN JOHN SEVIOUR DECEASED AND IN THE MATTER OF THE INHERITANCE (PROVISION FOR FAMILY AND DEPENDANTS) ACT 1975

CARLY SHAPTON

V

MARIA BARBARA SEVIOUR (in her personal capacity and as executrix of the estate of Colin John Seviour deceased)

Analysis

The claimant was the daughter of the late Mr Colin John Seviour. The defendant was Mr Seviour’s second wife. Under the terms of Mr Seviour’s will the defendant was to take the entire estate outright. Mr Seviour died on 8 August 2016. His estate was sworn at £268,000 of which £215,000 was comprised in his share of the matrimonial home he had held under a tenancy in common together with the defendant.

In 2017 the defendant was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. In order to retain her independence she had to have the matrimonial home modified to accommodate her needs. The defendant’s total income amounted to £1,377.55 per month. She was contemplating the purchase of a vehicle modified to accommodate her wheelchair, this being possibly necessary to protect her quality of life in virtue of the unavailability of other modes of transport for her in the area in which she lived.

The claimant was married with two children. Her husband was in work, and she was on maternity leave from her job, but able to return to it whenever she wished. She had suffered a loss of earnings while on maternity leave. She maintained that she and her family required a larger house than the three-bedroom semi-detached house in which she resided.

The claimant applied for an order under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, as a child of the deceased Mr Seviour, claiming that his will, in leaving everything to the defendant, was not such as to make reasonable financial provision for her.

Held:

The claimant’s application was ‘hopeless’. The estate was a small one, approximately 80% of which was comprised in the deceased’s share in the matrimonial home, in which the defendant had lived for many years, in which she wished to remain and which she had had modified to accommodate her needs. Moreover, the defendant suffered a debilitating illness and, given her limited income, would need her inheritance to live out her remaining years in dignity and comfort. Finally, the claimant and her husband lived a comfortable life. Although they felt they needed a larger house, that was never realistically in prospect as a result of the application.

JUDGMENT DEPUTY MASTER LLOYD: [1] On the 8th August 2016 Colin John Seviour died. He left surviving him his widow Maria Barbara Seviour, who he had married in March 1999. It was a second marriage for both. By his first marriage he had two children Carly, the claimant in this action and Chris S. The …
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Counsel Details

Zachary Kell (Five Paper, 5 Paper Buildings, Temple, London EC4Y 7HB, tel 020 7815 3200, e-mail clerks@fivepaper.com), instructed by Douglas-Jones Mercer (Axis Court, 16 Mallard Way, Swansea Vale, Llansamlet, Swansea SA7 0AJ, tel 01792 650000), for the claimant.

Alan Johnson (McKenzie friend) for the defendant.

Legislation Referenced

  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, ss2 and 3