The following Wills & Probate practice note Produced in partnership with Sidney Ross of Ten Old Square provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
The conduct of the party who makes a claim for financial provision has always been a relevant matter. Section 1(6) of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1938, as amended, directed the court to have regard to ‘the conduct of the applicant in relation to the deceased and otherwise…’ Although section 3(1)(g) of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (I(PFD)A 1975) does not specifically refer to conduct towards the deceased, it has most often been, in practice, the claimant’s conduct towards the deceased which has influenced the court in deciding both whether the disposition of the deceased’s estate has failed to make reasonable provision and, if so, in what manner and to what extent it should exercise its discretion.
Because the conduct of anyone involved, in whatever role, in a family provision claim is a strongly emotive issue, it is important for the practitioner handling the claim to be aware that conduct rarely has a decisive, or even a significant influence on the outcome of such claims, and to make clear to clients, without disparaging their feelings, that over-emphasis on matters of conduct is likely to cause disproportionate costs to be incurred and to have adverse costs consequences to the party raising them if the court finds them to be irrelevant or unfounded. This Practice Note therefore identifies, by reference to the reported cases,
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