When you make a Will, if you have anyone who is dependent on you – which would include children or in the following case older people, you have a legal obligation to make reasonable provision for them. The Court of Appeal made a unique decision that meant a man of 93 who had significantly more money than his partner, who had died, could benefit from the reasonable provision rule.
The man acknowledged that although he and his partner had been together for 20 years he had no desire or need to make claim on the estate and was not expecting to receive any inheritance even though in his Will she was a beneficiary.
The difficulties arose when the deceased’s sole heir, her daughter, told him that he had to vacate the property that he had lived in with her. On that basis possession was sought through the court on the grounds that he was trespassing. The man retaliated by claiming that the woman should have provided for him using the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
The judge agreed and as the daughter had had the property valued at £385,000 granted him the option of buying it. The High Court supported this decision, and the daughter challenged it again as she felt emotionally attached to the house. There was acknowledgement that the man was well able to buy an alternative property even if he wanted to stay in the house.
The Court of Appeal rejected the daughter’s appeal, citing the fact that the woman had supported the man by supplying him with a home and created an obligation to make ‘reasonable provision’ for him following her death. The Court stated that his needs were greater than the daughters given his age and health. The man was living in a village that he was born in with a local shop and a supportive community, and would not cope well with a move.
This case highlights that it is not only those who are financially dependent that need to be provided for but those whose are physically or emotionally dependent who need to be considered when making reasonable provision in your Will, which is why it is necessary to seek the advice of a solicitor when writing your Will.
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