Thursfields recently represented 2 adult children of the deceased who brought claims against the estate following the death of their father who had left them out of his Will. The Will was made in favour of the two younger daughters who were involved in its preparation. Our clients advanced two claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act and proprietary estoppel claim out of the estate worth £692,000 for a lump sum payment and/or transfer of property. We also claimed that it was unconscionable to deny our clients an interest in the estate that was made up of assets from the family business, following assurances from their father that it would all belong to them when he had passed away.

The family operated a family run business of convenience stores in London and of property development i.e. bought and sold properties for investment purposes. Our clients worked in the family business, working long hours for little pay, and also contributing any other earnings into the business for reinvestment. The deceased took on the role of managing the business, and often assured our clients that they would be sole and major beneficiaries of his estate and encouraged them to work hard so that they could enjoy financial security later in life. Our clients believed that their father’s estate would belong to them but discovered after his death that it had been left to their sisters who had not made much contribution.

The matter became more complicated when a jurisdictional issue over one asset was raised, concerning land in India purchased as an investment. This land had been transferred to one of the daughters shortly before their father’s death, and our clients sought to invalidate this transfer and apply the Indian intestacy rules to this land.

The Court proceedings were issued against the Executors and Beneficiaries of the estate in the High Court London who defended the claims. The matter was listed for trial and the parties began pre-trial preparations including disclosure of documents and exchange of evidence and attended directions hearings. Counsel Mark Baxter from 5 Stone Buildings London advised our clients and represented them at the court hearings and Mediation.

The parties have managed to agree a settlement before trial at Mediation to avoid the expense and risk of litigation. Our clients received £300,000 out of the deceased’s UK estate and were really happy with the outcome.

If you have any questions about Contesting a Will or would simply like further information about Challenging a Will or Probate claims please contact Pam Deol, a Senior Associate Solicitor, at pdeol@thursfields.co.uk or by phone on 0121 227 3878 or 07841051384.

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