Will Dispute / Inheritance Act Claim – Pinnock v Rochester 2011
This case involved an interesting claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (‘the 1975 Act’).
The point that emerged from the decision was that there may be an urgent claim for provision under the 1975 Act but this does not prevent a challenge to the validity of the Will at a later date.
In this case, the deceased’s son was left nothing under the Will and initially made a claim against the estate under the 1975 Act and accepted a settlement of £28,000.
The deceased made his Will just a few days before his death and there was doubt as to his capacity. The son then challenged the validity of the Will and the defendant applied to strike out the claim on the basis that he was precluded from brining it by virtue of the doctrine of election. The defendant argued it was an abuse of process for the son to bring a claim challenging the validity of the Will having entered into a consent order in relation to his claim under the 1975 Act.
The Court upheld the defendant’s objections and the son appealed.
The appeal was allowed on the basis that the Court had erred in law in relation to the connection between the proceedings under the 1975 Act and the challenge to the validity of the Will. The two claims were conceptually different and it was not inequitable or unfair to challenge the Will’s validity and accept payment under the 1975 Act.