Widow left without reasonable provision in her husband’s will wins half of £1m estate

The High Court ruled last week that reasonable provision had not been made for a widow whose husband of nearly 70 years excluded her and their four daughters from his will.

The Court heard that Mr Karnail Singh, who died in 2021, had wanted to leave his estate – valued in excess of £1 million – entirely to his male descendants. Ms Harbans Kaur, who married Mr Singh in 1955, had minimal independent income but had played a “full role” in the marriage and in the family-owned business. And yet, by the terms of Mr Singh’s 2005 will, Ms Kaur would have received nothing upon his death.

On that basis, it was ruled that “reasonable provision has not been made for the claimant”, and awarded Ms Kaur a 50% share of the estate’s net value. Indeed, Justice Peel – who heard the case in the High Court’s family division – stated that the matter was “the clearest possible case” entitling a conclusion that reasonable provision had not been made.

The ruling makes clear the Court’s interest in fairness, and in ensuring that reasonable provision is made to those potential beneficiaries who have a valid right to receive the proceeds from an estate. This is so especially where such beneficiaries could otherwise be left vulnerable and without other sources of independent income.

Those who have been left out of wills that they reasonably expected provision from should feel encouraged by this ruling as it demonstrates the Court’s power to make adjustments in the interest of fairness. Meanwhile, it also serves as warning to those who are drafting their wills that they should make reasonable provision to those who would expect to benefit.

If you would like to receive advice regarding wills and estates matters, please feel free to get in touch with us on 0203 146 3549 or by email at info@lflegal.com.

Disclaimer

All of our articles are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information provided.

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