High Court finds in favour of children left out of father's estate in recent will dispute case

In the recent case of Re R (Deceased) [2021] EWHC 936 (Ch), the High Court granted the award of £186,000 to two children left out of their father’s will.

The two children, who were both under the age of 18 at the time of the claim (though one of whom had turned 18 by the date of the trial), were represented by their Mother, ex-wife of the deceased, as their litigation friend.

They submitted a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, claiming £353,518.70 and £458,431 respectively. It was the younger brother who sought the larger sum.

Their father’s estate was worth £814,000. The Defendants to the proceedings were the deceased’s partner, who the deceased had been with for seven years prior to his death, and the deceased’s parents. The deceased’s will had made provision for the Defendants, to the complete exclusion of the Claimants.

Following the separation of the deceased and the Claimants’ mother, contact between the two individuals was sparse, with the costs of bringing up the Claimants’ being borne by their Mother and her new husband. Notably, the Claimants’ mother did not pursue a claim for child maintenance against her ex-husband.

The will included an accompanying statement made by the deceased justifying the exclusion of the Claimants from the will; it stated that the Claimants’ mother had made it clear that she did not want him to be part of the Claimants’ lives, and as such he did not wish for them to be a part of his family’s life upon his death. He also disputed whether they needed any financial provision from his estate.

In his judgment, Master Teverson held that the will did fail to make reasonable financial provision for the Claimants, stating that the defendants could not rely on the lack of child maintenance given on behalf of the deceased, or the fact that a step-parent had assisted with financial provision for the children.

Despite this, Master Teverson granted awards of £68,022 and £117,962 to the older and younger Claimant respectively, far below the original sums desired by the Claimants.

If you would like advice about a will dispute or any type of contentious probate case, please call 01902 424927 and ask to speak to one of our specialist contentious probate lawyers. Alternatively, please e-mail us at contentiousprobate@georgegreen.co.uk providing a brief summary of the issues you wish to discuss with us, along with your contact details.

We have a dedicated practice team of contentious probate solicitors, covering all areas of the UK (with offices near Birmingham and in Wolverhampton) who are experienced in dealing with all types of contentious probate matters, including challenging a will and estate disputes.

We also have a team of probate lawyers who can assist if you wish to review you current will or to make a will for the first time.

We offer an initial no obligation telephone consultation for contentious probate disputes and we can sometimes act for clients who want to contest a will or commence an inheritance dispute/probate dispute on a no win no fee basis.