Two adult brothers have failed in their attempt to be given a share of their deceased father’s estate after being left out of his will.
Rebecca Armstrong Associate Solicitor reports on this recent case.
The High Court ruled that it was clear that the father had made provision for them while he was alive and did not want them to receive anything further.
The brothers were aged 40 and 39. Their father had been married to their mother for 34 years. The couple divorced in 2007.
The marital assets were split approximately 50/50. He remarried and, in 2015, made a will under which his second wife was principal beneficiary.
The father died in 2017. His estate was worth around £2.2 million.
The court heard evidence that the father and his first wife had funded the private education, gap years and university courses of both brothers.
In 2008, following the sale of a property in London, the father gifted one brother £177,000 and the other £185,000. In a letter to them at the time, he indicated that they should invest the money in property and that they should expect no further financial assistance from him.
Further correspondence supported his expectation that they would be financially independent following the gifts.
Following his death, the brothers applied for an order under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision to be made for them from their father’s estate.
The court rejected the application.
It noted that the brothers were adults who had lived their own lives and made their own lifestyle decisions without any further financial assistance after 2008.
Neither could demonstrate needs for maintenance which they could not meet, if necessary, by adjustment to their lifestyle. Both had received financial assistance from their mother over the years following the divorce.
A parent was not legally obliged to maintain an adult child. The father had no obligations or responsibilities towards either brother at the time of his death. On their own evidence, they had sought further financial assistance from him after the 2008 gifts, which he had refused.
The most important aspect of his relationship with the brothers as far as their claim was concerned was that, after he made the 2008 gifts, he was not prepared to provide further financial assistance to them.
In all the circumstances, the father’s will did not fail to make reasonable financial provision for them.
If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills dispute please contact Rebecca on 01228 516666.