Infant children make successful Inheritance Act claim against father’s estate

Neil Acheson-Gray

A High Court judge has ruled that two young children should be entitled to a lump sum maintenance payment from their late father’s estate, despite not having been named in his Will.

Bianca Maria Corrado was awarded £386,000 from the £3.5 million estate of the Malkiat Singh Ubbi on behalf of her six month old and three year old children.

Ubbi was described by the judge as living a ‘double life’ and had been having a long-term clandestine relationship with Corrado, despite being married with two children.

However, when he died in 2015, the Will he had prepared in 2010 made no provision for either of the two children from his relationship with Corrado.

The claim was brought by Corrado under the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

The claim that provision should be made from the estate for the two children was not disputed by Susan Ubbi, Mr Ubbi’s wife and beneficiary of his estate. However, the amount of the lump sum was disputed, with questions raised in particular relating to the housing needs of the two children, the need for childcare and whether provision should be made for a private education.

Complicating matters further, one of Mr Ubbi’s children from his marriage has a number of disabilities and, despite being aged over 18, is still dependent upon Mrs Ubbi.

An additional factor was that Corrado had been living in a property owned jointly by Mr and Mrs Ubbi and would need to move.

Owing to the lack of precedent for claims from children so young, the court examined the financial circumstances of the parties in considerable detail, as well as examining the level of provision that Mr Ubbi had made during his lifetime for the two children from his marriage.

While the judge did not consider that provision for private schooling should be made, the children’s housing and childcare needs were recognised. The court specifically took into account that Corrado’s childcare needs would be increased as she would be looking after the children on her own.

Neil Acheson-Gray, a Partner at Carter Lemon Camerons, said:

“As noted by the judge in this case, claims under the Inheritance Act will be judged on the facts of the case in hand and this is a clear example of why that must be so – the facts of this case are highly unusual and the provision made took due account of the circumstances, not only of the children but also of the need for their mother to be able to provide them with a home.

“A lesson to take from his case is that it is vital that people ensure that they have an appropriate Will in place that takes account of their actual circumstances rather than only one side of what can be described as a double life. Children born outside of an established relationship have strong claims, stronger even than those from within that relationship whose housing and maintenance needs are likely to be provided for under the original disposition. Failing to do so can leave those left behind facing protracted and bitter legal battles in the future.”

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors is a City law firm which provides Wills and probate services with a personal touch to its clients – that go beyond the simple drafting of documents. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters. If you require advice on making, defending or contesting Wills, please contact Neil Acheson-Gray or Ian West.