Children entitled to a share of estranged father’s estate

Two teenage brothers have been granted a share of their father’s estate even though they were estranged from him and had been excluded from his will.

The two boys, referred to only as J and H in court, were aged 16 and 15 respectively at the date of their father’s death in 2018.

Their parents had divorced in 2012.

The mother re-married and the boys relocated with her and her husband to Scotland. The father, who had been diagnosed with incurable lung disease in 2004, had weekly telephone contact with the boys but only for a short time.

He paid no maintenance or child support. The mother and her husband bore the cost of continuing the boys’ private education.

The father recorded that he did not wish the boys to benefit from his will because he had been unable to contact them for more than three years. His will left everything to his parents and to his partner of seven years.

The net value of the estate depended on certain share valuations but would be a minimum of £519,000.

The boys both applied for a share of the estate and the High Court ruled in their favour despite opposition from the father’s partner.

It held that where the beneficiaries under a will were faced with an application for family provision by the deceased’s child, they could not generally rely on the fact that the deceased had paid no child support to defeat the claim. The father’s estate was ordered to pay 50% of the boys’ living expenses at home from the date of issue of the claim until their respective 21st birthdays.

The cost of J’s final year at school would be borne 100% by the estate given that the mother had funded the entire schooling cost before then.

The estate would also fund 100% of H’s past fees as a day pupil in fifth form, plus 80% of his two-year future boarding fees during sixth form.

The remaining 20% and any extra school costs would be met by the mother.

The estate would also fund 50% of the cost of providing each child with a reliable second-hand car.

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