Ms Harbans Kaur and Mr Karnail Singh were married for 66 years before Mr Singh sadly passed away. They had 6 children together, 4 daughters and 2 sons.
It became apparent from Mr Singh’s Will that Ms Kaur, an 83 year old widow and her four daughters had been excluded entirely from Mr Singh’s Will. Mr Singh left his entire estate to his two sons as he “wished to leave his estate solely down the male line”.
Kaur v Estate of Karnail Singh & Others
On 1 February 2023, Mr Justice Peel, who heard Ms Kaur’s case in the family division at the Royal Courts of Justice, heard Kaur had played a “full role” in the marriage and in the family’s clothing business. Peel J said:
“By [a] will dated 25th June 2005, the estate was left in equal shares to two of the children… the sons of the claimant and the deceased.
The reason why the will was crafted in these terms, excluding the claimant and the other four siblings, was because the deceased wished to leave his estate solely down the male line. Accordingly, the claimant receives nil provision under the will.”
Peel J stated that, weighing up all the factors in s3 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, “this is the clearest possible case entitling me to conclude that reasonable provision has not been made for the claimant”, adding: “It is hard to see how any other conclusion can be reached.”
Accordingly, Peel J awarded 50% of the net value of the estate to Kaur.
Changes to Inheritance Claim for the future
Ms Kaur’s case has reinforced a precedent for anyone who has a legal interest in a deceased estate and will hopefully encourage people to come forward and seek legal advice. Ms Kaur’s case was made under the 1975 Act and such cases are increasingly common.
Cases such as these can arise in families where there is a cultural tradition of leaving wealth to male descendants or where reasonable financial provision has not been made for a person who reasonably should be entitled to a share of the Estate, whether there is a Will or not and in a variety of other circumstances.
To make such a claim you need to set out that you have certain needs and that you have a right for these needs to be met by the Estate. These claims must usually be made within six months from the date of the Grant of Probate of Letter of Administration issued and therefore it is important for anyone seeking provision to act quickly.
If you believe you have a claim for reasonable financial provision, please contact our Litigation team on 0121 820 0112 who will be able to assist you with any questions you may have free of charge.