The clients were step-siblings and executors of two estates: Mr Grinter’s father (the “Deceased”) and Ms Harris’ mother, Anne. The Deceased and Anne were married and had executed mirror Wills, whereby their respective estates would pass to the surviving spouse, with a provision that should the other spouse have predeceased, the estate would pass to the six children and step-children equally. The Deceased died and Anne then died some 6 months later, prior to the finalisation of the administration of the Deceased’s estate. The Deceased had a further estranged adult child who was only provided for by way of a £10,000 legacy under his Will and who consequently brought a claim against the Deceased’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This was made shortly following Anne’s death.
This claim itself was unique for 1975 Act claims in that the competing beneficiary interest to the claim was a deceased person’s estate (i.e. Anne’s). Questions arose as to how the factors under the 1975 Act with regards the means, needs, and resources of competing beneficiaries applied for a deceased beneficiary’s estate.
Pre-action correspondence was unfruitful and a claim was brought in the High Court by the Claimant out of time (by some 2 weeks). The clients filed evidence in response in their capacities as executors to both estate. Prior to the hearing of the out of time claim, we were able to utilise this out of time uncertainty in negotiations which lead to the parties settling on the basis of a small payment (£15k) to the Claimant.