The client was the son of the Deceased and one of three residuary beneficiaries together with his two siblings who were also named as executors. Prior to death, the Deceased had been married to a gentleman (the client’s step-father) for over 16 years (the “Husband”). He was roughly 10 years from retirement and with very limited financial means. Our client was in his mid-50s, suffering from terminal bone cancer, divorced, unemployed and surviving on benefits with similarly limited capital means.
Under the terms of the Will, the Husband was provided with a legacy of £150,000 with the remaining net estate (circa £1.1 million) passing to the three children (including our client). The Husband consequently put forward a proposed claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
We were instructed in November 2017 after initial pre-action correspondence had been exchanged between the Husband and executors. For various personal reasons, it was agreed between the parties that they wished to proceed to mediation as a matter of urgency. Upon instruction, we prepared a pre-action witness statement setting out our client’s position and a mediation was arranged for mid-January between the three parties.
At mediation, Guy Perkins represented the client (the Husband having instructed Chancery Counsel to represent him). Following 10 hours of mediation, settlement was reached between the parties whereby we succeeded in ring-fencing our client’s one third share of the residuary estate from any additional sum to be paid to the Husband. Furthermore, we worked closely with the executors’ legal representative to minimise the Husband’s eventual settlement which was agreed at £375k in total, inclusive of his legacy under the Will (a considerable reduction from the potential 50/50 entitlement to the spousal joint assets of £1.7m under the divorce fiction).