You Are Duty-Bound Reasonably to Provide for Your Dependants in Your Will

Making reasonable provision in your will for those who depend upon you financially is a duty, not a choice. A judge made that point in coming to the aid of two sisters who were left in acute need when their father bequeathed them nothing.

In a will made four months before he died, their father left the entirety of his estate – consisting of his home, which was worth £355,000 – to their brother, who lived in the property. The sisters launched proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Ruling on the matter, the judge noted that both sisters were in their 60s and in poor health. Their father had, from time to time, helped them out with gifts of money and their disinheritance had left their finances in a parlous state. Their brother, aged in his 70s, had almost entirely failed to engage in the proceedings.

The judge found that the father, whilst anxious to ensure that his son continued to have a roof over his head, had also stated his intention to make provision for his other children. In failing to reflect that intention in his will, he had failed to make reasonable provision for the sisters. In order to meet their reasonable needs, the judge ruled that one sister should have £70,000 from the estate and the other £90,000.