The clients were the residuary beneficiaries of their brother’s estate, which was worth approximately £3 million. The deceased died unexpectedly in his sixties, having never married. His estate included a London property, a significant portfolio of shares and the historic family home, which had been passed down through the male side of the family for several generations. He had failed to update his Will which therefore took no account of his 7 year cohabitation. Accordingly, his cohabitee (the Claimant) sought reasonable financial provision. Although the deceased’s assets were considerable, the lifestyle that he and the Claimant had led was relatively frugal. Whilst the residuary beneficiaries accepted that reasonable financial provision should be made, the Claimant’s assertion that she was “virtually at the altar” by the time of the deceased’s passing, and should therefore be provided with a significant share of the Estate more akin to a spouse than a cohabitee, was not accepted.
The Claimant instructed [OPPOSITION SOLICITORS] and mounted an aggressive claim, which would have necessitated the sale of the family home. Although the claim advanced by the Claimant was ambitious, the detail did not warrant close inspection, including an annual sum to cover driving lessons, apparently for life, an amount akin to a luxury car for a non-driver, and, when correctly calculated, a capital sum seemingly greater than the value of the net Estate. A mediation took place in April 2017 and, being highly emotionally-charged, continued well into the night.
Settlement terms were agreed which provided for the Claimant to receive the sum of £660,000 (to be funded by means of the sale of the London home), as well as certain chattels owned by the deceased.