The claimant was the widow of the deceased whom she married on 19 April 2005. It was for both of them a second marriage and each had their own children. By his will dated 12 December 2017 the deceased made a specific gift to the claimant of his half-share in the matrimonial home, which was subject to a mortgage. He appointed his children as executors and the net value of the estate was stated to be not less than £4,088,336. The claimant applied for an interim provision order pursuant to s5 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. She sought interim payments at a rate of £8,511.78 per month backdated to 5 July 2019, an interim payment of £20,000 in order to repay funds loaned to her by Scott Saunders and an interim payment of £55,578 for the purpose of meeting her legal fees up to and including the financial dispute resolution hearing (FDR).
Held (granting the application in part):
While it was not the longest of marriages, it was long enough for the claimant to have had a legitimate claim to make for at least an element of sharing, albeit viewed more in the context of a needs case, if the marriage had ended in divorce. However, the claim had been brought under the Inheritance Act and it was clear that the court had the discretion to order both periodic payments and lump sum payments where it appeared that the applicant was in immediate need of financial assistance. The exercise of that discretion was not identical, not even broadly the same, as the discretion exercisable in ancillary relief applications, though there were necessarily considerable overlaps. On the basis of the evidence-based budget put forward in the application under headings of housing, housekeeping, clothes and footwear, cars, personal expenses, holidays etc, the budget would be reduced to £61,411 which equated to £5,200 per month backdated to 5 July 2019 and to continue until settlement or two months after the conclusion of the FDR. As regards the claim for an interim payment of £20,000, this would be rejected as there was no evidence from Scott Saunders that he was about to issue a claim for the repayment of a debt. The claim for an interim payment of £55,578 would be allowed for the purpose of meeting the claimant’s legal fees up to the conclusion of the FDR.
Obiter: it was astonishing that the level of costs in relation to the application incurred by all parties was in the order of £74,000 when the total amount claimed by way of lump sum payments was only £75,000. It could not be proportionate for so much money to be spent on this issue and it was unfortunate that the parties had been unable to settle the application.JUDGMENT FRANCIS J:  The claimant in these proceedings is Sarah Weisz, who married the deceased on 19th April 2005. It was for both of them a second marriage.  The application which is before me today relates to an application issued by the claimant on 5th July this year for interim provision pursuant to …