Latest insights from our experts
Small Victory for Minor Children Claiming Against Late Father’s Estate
Bianca Corrado, the mistress of a wealthy banker successfully made a claim against the £4.5 million estate of her late lover on behalf of her two minor children who were just three years old and six months old.
Malkiat Ubbi and Bianca had a long standing affair which produced two children, Mattia and Gabriele. Malkiat’s last will pre-dated the birth of Mattia and Gabriele and therefore did not make any provision for them. Malkiat’s wife, Susan Ubbi, accepted that provision for the children should be made for the children and so the dispute was concerned with how much the children should receive from their father’s estate.
When the Claimants are minor children, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 requires the court to “have regard to the manner in which the applicant was being or in which he might expect to be educated or trained…” in addition to the children’s financial resources, earning capacity, financial obligations and responsibilities. There is very little specific guidance in respect of claims made by minor children and in fact, the majority of case law relates to adult child claimants.
The recent case of Ilott v the Blue Cross determined that “the level at which maintenance may be provided for is clearly flexible and falls to be assessed on the facts of each case. It is not limited to subsistence level”. This is the current guidance in place for the courts to assess each individual case on its facts, most importantly in this case is the size of Malkiat Ubbi’s estate.
This claim was for the children’s housing and child care needs as well as provision for private education. The court and parties agreed that Bianca’s contribution to the children’s upbringing should be 65% of her income which, over 15 years was just over £900,000. It was determined that the children’s housing needs and childcare needs amounted to just under £1 million, having determined that no provision would be made for private education. After deducting Bianca’s contribution to the upbringing of the children over 15 years, the court determined that £386,290.60 was sufficient for the children’s maintenance.
Although the claimants were originally seeking a lump sum of almost £850,000, this case shows a prime example that a large estate does not guarantee that a claim will yield the large result which may be expected. In this instance, the claim was of course successful, but the reward was less than 10% of the entire estate worth, and less than half of the original expectation.