Consequences of having an outdated Will

 

A recent Court decision has highlighted the importance of keeping your Will up to date, and has also provided some clarity in relation to illegitimate minor children contesting a Will. 

Ubbi & Anori v Ubbi – the facts

Malkiat (the deceased) began his relationship with Susan in 1987.  Susan had a child from a previous relationship and in 1994 they had a son together, Jarmail, who suffers from physical and learning difficulties.  Susan and Malkait married in 2000 and during their time together built a successful business and property portfolio. 

Malkiat began an affair with Bianca who worked in their business in 2007 and in 2011 Bianca fell pregnant, giving birth in March 2012.  In between this time however, in 2010, Malkiat had made a Will leaving everything to Susan.  At the end of 2013, Bianca and Malkiat moved in together and their second child was born in 2014.  Susan then began proceedings for divorce, but Malkiat passed away in February 2015 before the divorce was finalised.  His 2010 Will had never been updated and so Bianca and their children were not provided for; she therefore proceeded to make a claim under the Inheritance Act on behalf of her children.

Under the Act, a child can make a claim against the estate of their father even if he was not married to their mother so the claim was allowed to be brought. 

Susan agreed that the children should be provided for but her and Bianca disagreed on what constituted as reasonable; both being interested in protecting the estate for their own children.  The figure was discussed based on an amount that would cover the childrens’ housing needs and childcare but no provision should be made for private education.  They were therefore awarded £386,920.60 of Malkiat’s £3,500,000 estate to include a lump sum for rental payments until the youngest child turns 20 years old.   

How to ensure your wishes are met

This case shows the importance of updating your Will when your circumstances change.  This would include getting married, divorced or having children as it is at these milestones in our lives that our wishes that will change as to who inherits our estate.  This case is a particularly sensitive situation as two of the children were conceived as a result of an affair, but if an up to date Will had been made, the Court proceedings and subsequent emotional and financial distress could have been avoided.

To discuss updating your Will after a change of circumstances, or if you have questions about contesting a Will, you can contact Kevin on 01329 222027 or email kevinhorn@warnergoodman.co.uk.

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