Court Decides How Injured Child's Estate Should Be Distributed

11th April 2019 By Alireza Nurbakhsh

It is not uncommon for children born with severe abnormalities or injuries to die in childhood. In a recent case, the Court of Protection was required to decide how to divide the estate of a child who died when the lump-sum compensation settlement for injuries he suffered at birth was still largely intact.

The boy was born when his mother was 18. His injuries meant that he would need care and around-the-clock supervision for the whole of his life. His mother, whose own health was permanently damaged by the birth, looked after him for the early part of his life, but he was then taken into foster care and a guardian over his affairs was appointed. His biological father denied paternity and played no part at all in the boy’s life.

His birth injuries had led to a claim against the NHS trust responsible for his delivery and that led to the settlement, which consisted of a six-figure lump sum and annual payments exceeding £80,000.

When his foster carer died, the fostering arrangement was transferred to other members of her family. They looked after the boy, regarding him as a member of the family, until he died when he was thirteen years old.

When he had only days to live, the family came to a provisional agreement as to how his estate should be dealt with, but the emotional upheaval at the time meant it was not put into effect by the creation of a statutory will.

His estate was valued at more than £600,000 and the Court of Protection was asked to decide how it should be distributed. The Court concluded that the boy would have always lacked the mental capacity to make a will. Were the rules of intestacy to apply, the child’s biological father would inherit half of his estate.

The decision of the Court was that the caring family should inherit the house that had been bought and modified for him to live in, free of Inheritance Tax, and that his mother should inherit the residue of his estate. His biological father received nothing.

Source: Concious

Latest News

International Dimension Makes Child Travel Risky

24th April, 2019 By Alireza Nurbakhsh

The welfare of children is always top of the list of priorities of the Family Court when making arrangements following the break-up of a family. This can be especially difficult where the parents are from different countries, as shown by a recent case in which the Court considered the welfare of a child of a Mexican mother and an English father. When the child, aged seven, had expressed a wish to return to live in Mexico, the CAFCASS official appointed as the child's guardian recommended that this did not occur....

Is IHT Simplification On the Way?

18th April, 2019 By Alireza Nurbakhsh

More than 550,000 people die annually in the UK and half of those deaths require the completion of Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms, which are not straightforward and can be a daunting burden at a difficult time for families. However, only 5 per cent of estates actually end up paying IHT. When there is an IHT liability, the average sum payable is about 20 per cent (the IHT rate is 40 per cent) of estates between £1 million and £9 million, but then falls to an effective rate of half that...

Fake Will Admission May Lead to Criminal Charges

15th April, 2019 By Alireza Nurbakhsh

When your spouse's lack of attention to making a will causes issues, faking one is definitely not a good idea, as a Kent woman found out recently. Her husband died in 2013 leaving various properties in Spain and a flat in England, but no will. The woman admitted to faking her late husband's will, which she had used to obtain a grant of probate and to sell the Spanish properties. She bought a property in London with some of the proceeds and moved into it with her stepson and his wife. When...

High Court Decision Underlines the Finality of Divorce Arbitration Awards

12th April, 2019 By Alireza Nurbakhsh

Divorcing couples can sometimes achieve savings of both time and money by opting for arbitration, rather than court proceedings, as a means of resolving any financial disputes. However, as a guideline High Court case underlined, arbitration has its potential downsides and it is vital to remember that arbitrators' decisions are generally treated as final. Faced with the prospect of having to wait several months for a court date following the breakdown of their ten-year marriage, a middle-aged couple chose to submit their differences to an arbitrator. He decided that the...