If you fail to remember your dependants in your Will, it is highly likely that a judge will intervene after your death to ensure they are reasonably provided for. This is exactly what happened in one case in which a woman who was bequeathed nothing by her partner was awarded £325,000 from his estate.
Carole Anne Taylor lived with her partner James Redmond for seven years before his death, living as a as a couple and caring for him when his health failed. Mr Redmond drafted and signed his final Will, in which he left everything to his two daughters, 20 years before he met Ms Taylor.
On Mr Redmond’s death, his daughters had insisted on selling the property the couple had shared, forcing Ms Taylor to move in with her son as she had limited retirement income and nowhere else to live. Solicitors on behalf of Ms Taylor, aged in her 70s, launched proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 seeking reasonable provision for her from the Mr Redmond’s estate.
Mr Redmond’s daughters challenged the claim, arguing that Ms Taylor was just one of many girlfriends and that the relationship cooled towards the end of Mr Redmond’s life and that he had asked Ms Taylor to move out. But the judge said their evidence lacked credibility and ruled that Ms Taylor should receive regular maintenance payments to top up her pension income and a capital sum of £180,000 to enable her to buy a property, with the property reverting to the daughters upon her death.