In the recent case of Weisz v Weisz, the Deceased's widow was granted interim provision of £5,200 per month, pending conclusion of her claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 ("the 1975 Act").
The Deceased's net estate is worth approximately £4m. Under his last Will, the Deceased left his half share of the matrimonial home (subject to a mortgage) to his wife, Mrs Weisz. Mrs Weisz brought a claim under the 1975 Act against the Deceased's estate, seeking greater provision. Her claim is defended by the Deceased's children from a previous marriage, who are entitled to the residue of their father's estate under his Will.
Section 5 of the 1975 Act allows the court to grant interim provision for the applicant from the Deceased's estate, where the applicant is in immediate need of financial assistance. Mrs Weisz made an application under S.5 for monthly payments to be made to her from the Deceased's estate of £8,511.78, a payment of £20,000 in order to repay a loan, together with a payment of £55,578 towards her legal fees.
The Judge analysed the figures claimed by Mrs Weisz against the criteria for 'immediate need'. He found that £5,000 for interior/exterior decoration and repairs, averaged over five years, did not constitute immediate need. This figure was accordingly reduced to £1,000. Overall, Mrs Weisz's claimed housing needs of £6,500 were reduced to £2,500. The claim of £12,380 for clothes, footwear, accessories, jewellery and evening wear, was reduced to £3,000 and her claim of £31,400 for holidays, entertainment and hobbies, was reduced to £8,000. The judge stated that Mrs Weisz was entitled to holidays but that it was not possible to reconcile a claim of £20,000 for holidays with 'immediate need'.
Mrs Weisz's claim for £20,000 to repay a loan was rejected. In relation to her legal fees, the Judge held that it was unreasonable for her solicitors to have to act as a creditor, when there was plenty of money within the estate from which fees could be paid. The full amount claimed of £55,578 was awarded. It was relevant in this case, that the Judge felt that Mrs Weisz was likely to be successful in her claim against the estate at a final hearing; the estate having already made an open offer to Mrs Weisz to pay her maintenance of £4,000 per month.
In his judgment, the Judge was highly critical of the high level of costs which the parties had incurred in relation to the S.5 application alone. He felt that costs in excess of £74,000 were out of proportion and lamented that the parties had been unable to reach a settlement out of court.
Case Citation: Weisz v Weisz & Ors  EWHC 3101 (Fam)
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