Siblings' dispute with stepmother over their deceased father’s Will

We acted for two siblings, Mr B and Ms B, in relation to a dispute with their stepmother over their deceased father’s Will. The Will left a property and a significant pension to the stepmother, and the residue was left to Mr and Ms B. However, the stepmother did not feel as though her deceased husband had made reasonable provision for her in his Will, and brought a claim against our clients under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

Mr B and Ms B maintained that although their father had left their stepmother significant gifts, both during his lifetime and in his Will, their father and stepmother had in fact lived separate lives between 2007 and his death towards the end of 2011.

Our defence of the claim centred primarily on the question of how the stepmother could argue that a reasonable financial provision had not been made for her by her deceased husband when such substantial assets had passed to her outside of the deceased’s estate. Another argument put forward on behalf of our clients was that their stepmother’s position was far stronger following the death of their father than it would have been had they got divorced during his life time.

Extensive correspondence was exchanged between the parties before agreeing a small settlement in December 2012. 

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