On 8 November 2018, almost 17 months out of time, Mary Jane Cowan made an application under Section 4 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for permission to make an application under Section 2 of that Act against the estate of her deceased husband, Michael Anthony Cowan (Cowan v Foreman,  EWHC 349 Fam).
Sibling concern over equal treatment can linger well into middle age and beyond; it reveals itself after a parent’s death or during their old age through arguments over who has had what and who’s going to get what. We’re not legally obliged to leave our estate to our children in equal shares or, indeed to leave them anything at all.
The principles applicable to costs in the context of probate litigation are different from the costs of other litigation. In particular, there are two long established exceptions to the general litigation rule that costs follow the event.
Recent decisions in the Sheffield case has highlighted the court’s distinctive approach to dealing with costs in trusts and probate proceedings, and is a reminder to trustees in particular as to their potential litigation costs exposure where they are in default.