Cut out of father's fortune due to being unemployed – Judge ruled her joblessness is a lifestyle choice
A daughter was left out of her father's Will and made a claim for financial provision from the Estate. The claim was unsuccessful due to the daughter providing exaggerated, inconsistent and uncorroborated evidence and being unable to prove her current financial needs and resources.
Michael Ames Died in 2013 ("The Deceased"). The Deceased left his entire estate to his second wife, Elaine Ames, 63 years ("Defendant") with whom he had been with for the last 30 years. If she did not survive him then 40% would be gifted to the Claimant and the remainder divided between the grandchildren. Danielle Ames, aged 41 ("Claimant") was the Deceased's only child from his first marriage. The Claimant had a long term partner and two children. The Claimant, as a child of the Deceased made a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 for financial provision from the Estate. The Estate was worth approximately £700,000.
The Deceased and the Defendant had a number of small businesses. The Claimant claimed that she worked for some of the businesses, for example the Claimant worked for one of the companies dealing with the company emails from home and was paid £80.00 per week. The Claimant claimed that being left out of her father's Will left her facing crushing debts, a shortfall of £2,000.00 a month. The Claimant made a claim for £300,000.00 as 'reasonable' financial provision.
The judge ruled the Claimants evidence regarding her current and future financial needs was unreliable and inconsistent and her claim was dismissed. The Defendants witness statement was also inconsistent and contained mistakes but the judge deemed the errors were not deliberate unlike the Claimants. The judge also ruled the Claimant had exaggerated her relationship with the Deceased. The Court accepted that the Deceased may have been generous to the Claimant during his life but did accept the Claimant's evidence that the Deceased had funded her lifestyle.
It was held that as the Defendant was retired and in poor health that she needed the money from the Estate to meet her reasonable need and she should receive the entire Estate. The judge referred to the fact the Claimant was unemployed and stated this is a "lifestyle choice" as she is fit and able to work. The Claimant was ordered to pay the Defendants costs of the claim which is estimated in the region of £130,000.00.
This case demonstrates it is of the upmost importance to provide consistent, precise and reliable evidence when making a claim.