Children win claim against father’s will

We specialise in Inheritance Act claims. For expert guidance on making an inheritance claim contact our free helpline on freephone 0333 888 0404 for an initial chat or send an email to us at [email protected]

Children’s claim against father’s will succeeds, even though they were estranged

In the recent case of Re R (Deceased) a claim was brought by two children, aged 17 and 18, under the Inheritance Act for ‘reasonable financial provision’ from their father’s estate.

The children were estranged from their father and in his will he specifically stated that no provision was to be made for them. In his explanation for the decision he referred to the fact that the children’s mother had previously turned down an offer of £15 per week for child maintenance by the Child Support Agency, and that she had prevented him from having contact with the children, making it plain that she did not want him to be part of their lives.

However, the Inheritance Act allows children to challenge their parent’s will if ‘reasonable financial provision’ is not made for them. Their father’s estate was worth between £520,000 to £720,000, and it was the Court’s task to decide what constittes ‘reasonable financial provision’, and how much to award the children.

The judge concluded that the father’s decision to disinherit his children was not reasonable. Even if a father had no contact with his children, and someone else had taken on responsibility for maintaining them, he remained legally obliged to maintain them until they were in a position to earn a reasonable wage.

Considering the claim for ‘reasonable financial provision’ under the Inheritance Act the court confirmed that a lack of contact between a child and a parent was not a bar to making an inheritance claim and made an award that included the following:

  • 50% of the children’s living costs until the age of 25;
  • The older child’s school fees for his last year at school;
  • Most of the younger child’s school fees for his last two years at school;
  • 50% of both children’s university accommodation costs;
  • 50% of the children’s car expenses; and
  • 50% of the costs of private counselling for the children.

The total cost of ‘reasonable financial provision’ for the older child was approximately £68,000, and approximately £118,000 for the younger child.

The judge rejected an application to finance the purchase of a property for the children and dismissed an argument from the mother that the school fees paid by her in the past should be reimbursed.

Do you need guidance an making an inheritance claim against your father’s will? Contact our free helpline on freephone 0333 888 0404 for an initial chat or send an email to us at [email protected]

 

Lee Dawkins

Lee Dawkins

Over the past 30 years Lee has overseen the expansion of the firm’s litigation department. He developed our personal injury and clinical negligence teams, creating various niche areas that now enjoy a national profile. He pioneered contentious probate, setting up one of the UK's leading inheritance dispute teams and established Slee Blackwell as a force within claimant professional negligence. He now works as the firm's marketing partner.
Lee Dawkins

Lee Dawkins

Over the past 30 years Lee has overseen the expansion of the firm’s litigation department. He developed our personal injury and clinical negligence teams, creating various niche areas that now enjoy a national profile. He pioneered contentious probate, setting up one of the UK's leading inheritance dispute teams and established Slee Blackwell as a force within claimant professional negligence. He now works as the firm's marketing partner.

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Call the Slee Blackwell helpline on 0333 888 0404