Infant dependants challenge their father’s £3.5m estate
A case which is likely to be used as a benchmark for other future Inheritance Act claims sees a businessman’s estate worth £3.5 million being challenged by his young children.
This is a rare case surrounding adequate provision for infants but shows the importance of continually updating or reviewing Wills to reflect wishes following major life changes.
In the Ubbi v Ubbi, case, the court bequeathed Bianca Maria Corrado £386,000 of the late Malkiat Singh Ubbi’s £3.5m estate. The children aged three and six months were represented in court by their mother and litigation friend who are named in the judgement.
The judge, Master Karen Shuman, said there is ‘little specific guidance’ for claims made by infants, and that the case is likely to be used as future guidance for similar Inheritance Act claims in the future.
The late Malkiat Singh Ubbi had a long term affair with Corrado, who Judge Shuman described as leading a ‘double life’. The father of the two young claimants, Ubbi, was in the middle of getting a divorce from his wife when he died in 2015. Unfortunately, however, his Will had not left any provision for his children which led Corrado to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act.
Senior Associate at the Will, Trust and Estates Team at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, Nazia Nawaz, said: “It can be costly to let your Will languish with outdated information. It’s vital to consider the consequences of staying married to someone when the relationship has broken down irretrievably, particularly if you then have a second family. It’s unusual to have infant children as claimants in an Inheritance Act dispute, but it was necessary here to provide for their future.”
James Beresford, Partner in the Commercial Advisory and Private Wealth Team at BLM, said: “the case highlights a lack of awareness and ‘wills apathy’ among the general public. Any time there is a significant change in circumstances, it is important that a will reflects this. Now, the blue touch paper has been lit but these types of issue can be avoided.”
Nawaz further added: “Mr Ubbi may have wanted his children to receive more from the estate had he set out a provision for them in his will. This case also goes to show that while updating a Will may seem costly and time-consuming from the outset, the fallout of leaving heirs and second families unaccounted for is much worse.”
As a legal professional, do you think we may see more similar cases in the future?