One of the more contentious issues in the administration of estates arises when the deceased had remarried, leaving ‘old’ and ‘new’ families, which often take different views about how the estate should be divided.
The High Court recently dealt with a dispute which arose because a man’s entire estate was left to his widow, who was his second wife. He had remarried some years after the death of his first wife. He had two daughters from his first marriage, who had been giving him £100 per month for more than 20 years. This arrangement had subsisted since before his first wife died and continued until his death. The daughters claimed that the payments were made as part of a family agreement that they would inherit his estate when he died.
However, there was little evidence to support the daughters’ claim and the court heard that the payments had started after their parents had given them cash and a property many years earlier.
In the absence of sufficient evidence that the payments were part of an agreement that the estate should pass to them, the daughters’ claim was rejected.