Making a Will? Don't Forget Your Moral Obligations

7th April 2020 By

You are in principle entitled to bequeath your worldly wealth to whoever you choose. However, as a High Court decision made clear, the law will intervene if you ignore your moral obligations when making your will.

A successful motor dealer and property investor, who died at the age of 95, left the whole of his seven-figure estate to his granddaughter. His son and sole surviving child received nothing. The son’s response was to launch proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, seeking reasonable provision from his father’s estate.

In ruling on the matter, the Court found that, from an early age, there was something seriously wrong in the son’s relationship with his parents. His father had decided to disinherit him in the 1970s, but had continued to assure him that he would in due course receive a fair share of his assets. Following a final rift, there was no direct contact between father and son during the last 24 years of the father’s life.

The court noted that the son, aged 77, was in declining health, did not own his own home and was in precarious financial circumstances. He had for years worked hard in the family business and his father owed him a moral obligation based on the assurances of an inheritance that he had given him. The father’s estate had yet to be finally valued but, on the assumption that it was worth about £1.4 million after tax, the Court upheld the son’s claim to a lump sum of £125,000.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Award That Requires Borrowing Made Into Court Order

17th May, 2024 By

Disagreements between separating couples all too often result in litigation that substantially reduces the assets available to them, as was illustrated by a case that recently reached the High Court. At issue was whether awards made by arbitrators in financial remedy proceedings can be made into court orders even if that would require one of the parties to borrow money. The couple had previously had a relationship lasting a few years before resuming their relationship in 2015. They had two children before separating again in 2019. Following their separation, the...

Inheritance Disputes – Costs Risks Can Be Reduced

15th May, 2024 By

Arguments about what someone promised before their death can lead to significant legal costs. However, if faced with a claim against the estate, there may be steps the beneficiaries or executors can take to reduce the risks, as a recent High Court case illustrated. A man had left a farmhouse and agricultural land in Cornwall to his wife, with whom he had also jointly owned a neighbouring area of land. After his death, one of the couple's daughters and her husband claimed that he had told them he wanted them...

Share Rounding Error Does Not Prevent CGT Relief

13th May, 2024 By

There are often very specific rules that must be complied with in order to claim tax reliefs, but if a small mistake arises, the courts may be able to provide assistance. In a recent case, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that an investor was entitled to Entrepreneurs' Relief on the disposal of his shares in a company, despite owning one share fewer than he needed to qualify for it. The investor had agreed to purchase 5 per cent of the shares in the company for £500,000. He wished to own...

Wife Entitled to Maintenance Until Sale of Family Home

10th May, 2024 By

When divorcing couples disagree on how assets should be divided, the courts will seek to arrive at a fair outcome for both parties. In deciding how the proceeds of sale of a former couple's home should be apportioned, the Family Court agreed with the wife that she should receive maintenance payments until the sale took place. The couple had married in 2006. Following a brief separation, they had reconciled for two years before finally separating in 2022. The husband and wife both contended that they should be entitled to about...