Barbara Rich successful in High Court in defence of claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

The High Court has handed down judgment in the case of Miles & Shearer v Shearer [2021] EWHC 1000 (Ch), a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the ‘1975 Act’).  Jordan Holland (instructed by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP) acted for the Claimants. Barbara Rich (instructed by Cripps Pemberton Greenish) acted for the successful Defendant.  Barbara and Jordan are speaking at a webinar on the case and on adult children’s claims under the 1975 Act at midday on Friday 30 April.  You can find further details and registration here

This trial concerned the estate of Anthony Shearer (‘the Deceased’), former chief executive of Singer and Friedlander merchant bank.  His two adult daughters, Juliet Miles and Lauretta Shearer, made claims for reasonable provision from his estate under the 1975 Act.  The claim was defended by Pamela Shearer, the widow of the Deceased from his second marriage

Neither daughter was named as a beneficiary of the Deceased’s last will.  They were aged 40 and 38 respectively at the date of the trial and both had been married and each had children of their own.  Juliet lived in a joint household with her mother, the Deceased’s former wife, and Lauretta had a salaried job and her own home.  The Deceased had given them each money intended to provide a deposit on a first property in 2008, and had disclaimed any further responsibility for making financial provision for them as adults.

The judgment of the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Julian Flaux, considered the evidence relevant to the various statutory factors in section 3 of the 1975 Act, as well as the law on the extent of any parental responsibility or obligation to maintain an adult child, and on the standard of maintenance appropriate to Claimants in this position.  On the basis of these principles and the evidence before him, the Chancellor concluded that the Deceased’s will did not fail to make reasonable provision for the maintenance of either of the Claimants.  Accordingly both claims were dismissed.

You can read a copy of the judgment here