Partner at Hugh James solicitors, Matthew
Evans, recently enjoyed a successful case in which a favourable
decision for our client in Cardiff County Court was upheld in the
Court of Appeal.
Mrs Mussarat Iqbal was widowed after 22 years of marriage.
Following her husband's death she discovered that, under the
terms of her husband's will, she was left just £8000 and
a right to live in the matrimonial home. That home, however, was
valued at £115,000 and required extensive repairs worth over
£30,000 which she simply could not meet. There was,
therefore, the very real possibility that she may not be able to
carry on living in her home.
The remainder of her husband's estate was left to his son
from an earlier marriage.
The court heard that Mrs Iqbal, 61, was totally dependent on her
husband prior to his death. She speaks limited English and
effectively lived on state support and the £5 a week paid to
her by her husband as pocket money.
Upon an application by virtue of the Inheritance (Provision for
Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the Court agreed with the case
brought by our team on Mrs Iqbal's behalf that she had not
received 'reasonable financial provision'. As such, the
court effectively rewrote Mrs Iqbal's husband's will to
ensure to the effect that she now owns half of the property and has
the right to stay in her home for life. She is also entitled to her
husband's residuary estate, which is valued at around
The outcome ensures that Mrs Iqbal has far more financial
security in her later years and demonstrates the court's
willingness to intervene if it feels that reasonable provision has
not been made for an individual.
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As a result of a perfect storm of budgetary constraints resulting in the numbers of Family Court administration staff being slashed and the removal of legal aid (so many more people are litigants in person), the Family Courts are under more pressure than ever before.
We first wrote about the Marley v. Rawlings case in November 2011 following the Court of Appeal’s ruling that mirror Wills signed by a couple could not be treated as valid as the couple had each signed the other’s Will rather than their own.
On 15 August, the Deputy Bailiff (the second most senior Judge) handed down judgment in the landmark case of Mubarak v. Mubarak.
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