In our article of 1 June 2021, we speculated that some of Lord Bath's "wifelets" could contest his will, which left the entirety of his £23m estate to his wife of 50 years, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 ("the Act"), on the grounds that the will had not made reasonable financial provision for them.
Whilst Lord Bath was alive, a number of his wifelets lived in cottages on his Wiltshire estate, although the terms on which they did so were unclear. Details recently released about potential challenges to Lord Bath's will indicate that the solicitors acting in the administration of his estate have written to a number of the wifelets to suggest that they seek legal advice, in anticipation of claims under the Act.
This raises the possibility that there will be challenges to the will, although it appears likely that Lord Bath set up commercial arrangements with wifelets living in cottages on his estate in order to preclude any assertions that they were financially dependent on him. Whether any of the claims might succeed will depend, as with all claims under the Act, on each wifelet's particular arrangements with Lord Bath.
The continued speculation emphasises the need to:
- Make a will and review its provisions regularly;
- Take a solicitor's advice about making a will or making changes;
- Arrange a professional assessment of capacity where required; and
- Take advice from a solicitor when there is a dispute concerning a will or an estate.
Our litigation department possesses many years of experience in advising beneficiaries and executors in dealing with complex, high-value contentious probate claims concerning the validity of wills and other disputes involving wills and estates, and our skilled practitioners combine technical knowledge with the ability to give clear, practical, and outcome-focused advice.
To find out more or discuss your individual circumstances in further detail, contact us on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an Enquiry' form on our website.
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*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.