Case study: defending an Inheritance Act 1975 claim

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Our inheritance disputes solicitors recently advised a family in defence of an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim.

Our specialist team was instructed by the child (J) and grandchild (E) of Mr G (deceased) after his second wife (Mrs G), and J’s stepmother, claimed that she had been left insufficient financial provision under Mr G’s Will.

Discretionary trust

Mr G’s Will appointed Mrs G as one of the executors and trustees (alongside J and E) and gifted her a number of specific items, including his car. In the Will, Mr G also created a discretionary trust, of which Mrs G, J, and E were all potential beneficiaries. Finally, the whole of the residuary estate (the part of the estate left after the payment of debts, gifts, the trust etc.) was left to Mrs G.

However, as the value of the estate fell below the Nil Rate Sum (the threshold above which Inheritance Tax is payable), there was no residuary estate to pass outright to Mrs G, and so she relied on any interest she might be given by the discretionary trust.

The discretionary trust included Mr G’s 50% interest in the property (valued at at least £200,000) he had shared with Mrs G, as well as money in Mr G’s bank or building society accounts and investments, the latter of which totalled approximately £105,000.

Mrs G was unhappy with her inheritance under the terms of the Will, claiming that, after being married for over 42 years and having contributed significant sums to the property they shared, she was owed more than Mr G’s car and what was outlined in the Will.

Disproving the need for outright financial provision

In defending this claim, our dispute resolution solicitors argued that Mrs G had sufficient assets and income after her husband’s death, which disproved any need for outright financial provision from the estate (as opposed to an expectation of provision from a discretionary trust).

Both parties took part in a mediation session and reached an agreement, reallocating the assets of the estate and which comprised a settlement releasing Mr G’s 50% interest in the property to Mrs G, thereby discharging her interest in the trust.

Contact our inheritance and Will dispute solicitors in Bristol

For practical advice about a Will or inheritance dispute, get in touch with our specialist dispute resolution solicitors. We advise clients across the UK from our six offices in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

For more information, call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.


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