Chief Master Marsh has given judgment in the case of Bhusate v Patel & others permitting a widower to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”) 25 years and nine months after the deadline to do so.
Ordinarily a claim under the Act must be brought within six months from the Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration. However, the Act does state at section 4 that with permission of the court a claim can be brought out of time. Prior to this case permission had never been sought for pursuing a claim for anything like this period of 25 years.
It was very relevant to the application that the Claimant in this case could only speak basic and broken English, and could read very little, despite having lived in the UK for over 38 years. It is also relevant that as the family had been unable to agree matters in relation to the sale of the deceased’s property that by the time this matter was heard the property had increased substantially in value. Following Mr Bhusate’s death intestate (without a will) no one had properly administered the estate. It was successfully argued that it is open to a claimant to bring a claim out of time when there was no claim at an earlier date.
The Court was satisfied in this case that there were‘compelling reasons’ why it was right and proper that the court should exercise its discretion in her favour in allowing a claim significantly out of time.
It was relevant that if Mrs Bhusate had not been permitted to proceed with her claim she would have been left with no remedy at all and no benefit from her husband’s estate, and would effectively be left homeless.
Should you require advice about any claim you may have in relation to a deceased’s estate then please contact us for an appointment.
Contentious Probate Litigation Solicitor