Probate dispute solicitor, Chris Holten, looks at the case of a widow who has been refused permission to challenge her husband’s Will by bringing an Inheritance Act claim.
Background to the probate dispute
Mary Sargent has been refused permission to bring an out of time claim for reasonable financial provision from her late husband’s estate, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Joe Sargent died in May 2005, leaving a Will dated 20 February 2002. In broad terms the Will transferred most of Joe’s assets into a discretionary trust, the beneficiaries of which were Mary, Jane (Joe and Mary’s daughter) and Jane’s descendants. Mary, Jane and their family solicitor Mr Thomson were the Trustees of the discretionary trust set up under Joe’s Will.
There was some dispute regarding the assets that should form part of the trust. While the estate was sworn at £3.2 million, it was said to be worth closer to £8 million at the point of trial.
Joe also left two letters of wishes. The first of which stated:
“It is my wish that for so long as she is alive, Mary should have all the benefit from my assets unless she specifically says that she does not want everything.
Certainly, for so long as she remains mentally competent to make a decision, no land buildings or houses should be sold without her specific agreement.
After Mary’s death I wish my daughter Jane to have the benefits for her lifetime if she wishes. That would enable her to live at Grafton rent-free if she wishes to do so. However unless there are completely unexpected circumstances I wish the capital assets preserved and if possible enhanced for the benefit of Jane’s children and their issue…”
You can read the full article here.