Inheritance Dispute: Wife and mistress go to war over millionaire's estate
A mistress of a wealthy businessman has issued a claim against his £2.5 million estate on the ground that he failed to make provision for their love child in his will.
A bitter inheritance dispute is now underway over the division of assets between his wife and his mistress.
Baldeb Kohli died in 2015 in India from cancer. He made a will leaving his entire £2.5m estate to his widow, Harjeet Kaur Kohli, who lives in India.
During the course of his 35 year marriage to Mrs Kohli, Mr Kohli had an affair with Melissa Proles. According to Miss Proles, Mr Kohli proposed to her not long after they met and they lived together in London and had a daughter together in 2013.
Mr Kohli wasn’t present at the birth and did not meet his daughter until she was 5 weeks old. Miss Proles told the High Court in London that Mr Kohli was “besotted with his daughter” both showering her with gifts and paying for her nursery fees.
Miss Proles commenced a claim under the Inheritance Provision for Families and Dependants Act (1975) (“the Inheritance Act”) asking the court to pay a sum of money from the estate for her daughter’s maintenance.
In order to bring such a claim, Miss Proles must first prove that Mr Kohli was domiciled in the UK when he died. ‘Domicile’ in a legal sense basically means the country which is a person’s permanent base. In order to successfully argue this point, Miss Proles must convince the court that Mr Kohli deliberately and unequivocally abandoned his domicile of origin (India) in favour of the UK.
Miss Proles referred to the fact that Mr Kohli had acquired a sizeable property portfolio in London, ran his business in the UK (including two successful gourmet restaurants in London) and the fact that he had formed close friendships and social connections in London. In addition, Miss Proles alleges that Mr Kohli had been separated from his wife since 2010. Furthermore, Mr Kohli had previously broken his Sikh traditions by abandoning his turban and cutting his hair.
The barrister for Miss Proles told the High Court in London that Mr Kohli clearly intended to settle permanently in the UK, and that he only flew back to India for the warmer weather during the winter.
In defence of the claim, Mrs Kohli argued that Mr Kohli had firm roots in India and that he had continued to provide for her (and their children) whilst he was in London. In addition, when Mr Kohli found out that he had cancer he returned to India, supposedly with no intention of coming back to the UK.
The court case continues and the court will need to reach a decision, based on the available evidence, as to whether Mr Kohli was domiciled in the UK at the date of this death and accordingly whether Miss Proles can advance a claim under the Inheritance Act on behalf of her daughter.
If you would like to discuss bringing or defending a claim under the Inheritance Act or if you require advice in relation to a will dispute or challenge or in respect of any contentious probate matter, please do not hesitate to contact our contentious probate solicitors on 01902 424927. Alternatively, you can e-mail us at email@example.com providing a brief summary of the issues you wish to discuss with us, along with your contact details.