A woman who made a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, recently found her entitlement from her late husband’s estate cut in the Court of Appeal. The Act allows dependants to apply for reasonable financial provision from the estate of the person on whom they were dependent if appropriate provision is not made in the will.
In this case, the estate was valued at £1.4m and belonged to a man who died 13 months after marrying his cleaner, whom he had only known for six months prior to the marriage.
In the lower court the judge ruled that the widow should receive £800,000 by way of a lump sum. The executors appealed on behalf of the beneficiaries, claiming that the award did not reflect a proper balance of interests between the widow and the other beneficiaries. The Court of Appeal found that the judge’s reasoning was flawed in several respects and considered that, given the brevity of the marriage, the original apportionment might not be appropriate.
It was decided that the widow should receive £600,000 which, after tax and legal costs, amounted to approximately 60 per cent of the value of the net estate.