The High Court has ruled in favour of a widow who, along with her daughters, had been excluded from the Will of her late husband, Karnail Singh.
Harbans Kaur will now receive a 50% share of the estate, valued in excess of £1m. Mr Justice Peel said “reasonable provision” had not been made for Kaur.
Jennifer Ray, a partner at city law firm DMH Stallard, said:
“The High Court decision to award Harbans Kaur a 50% share of her late husband’s estate is a strong reminder to those preparing their Wills to note that while they do have complete testamentary freedom, the courts will ensure fairness prevails if those the deceased has a duty to provide for are left out of the Will.
“Claims such as Kaur’s are made under the Inheritance Act 1975 and are increasingly common.
“They can arise in families where there is a cultural tradition of leaving wealth to male descendants or where someone has failed to make a Will and in a variety of other circumstances.
“Claims are not limited to spouses but also include:
- co-habitees ex-spouses and ex-civil partners,
- children of the deceased, children of the family and adult children
- anybody who may have been wholly or partially maintained by the deceased or supported by the deceased financially before their death.
“To make a claim you need to set out that you have certain needs and that you have a right for these needs to be met by the estate.
“Such claims must usually be made within six months from the date that the Grant of Probate being issued. It is therefore important for anyone seeking provision to act quickly.”