A woman has been awarded £30,000 from her father’s estate despite the fact that he made it clear he had disinherited his children, in the first judgment of its kind since a landmark Supreme Court ruling that was thought to clarify testamentary freedom and what constitutes reasonable provision.
Elena Nahajec was awarded the figure from Stanley Nahajec’s £240,000 estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
In the judgment, handed down at the County Court at Leeds, His Honour Judge Saffman said Nahajec should be due maintenance because she wanted to complete a veterinary course.
The award was despite her having almost no contact with her father for several years before his death 2015. He left a letter explicitly disinheriting all three of his children, instead leaving the whole of his estate to his friend Stephen Fowle.
Mark Nahajec, a half-sibling of Elena who was unable to work through ill-health, made a claim under the 1975 act which was settled for £22,000. The third sibling, Philip Nahajec, made no claim.
Like the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ilott v The Blue Cross and Ors earlier this year, the case centred on reasonable financial provision.
Saffman wrote: ‘£30,000 is my best estimate of the capitalised cost of maintenance for a reasonable time going forward to take into account the possibility, albeit contingent, of the claimant undertaking a course which ultimately results in her becoming a veterinary nurse.’
Law Society’s Gazette 21.7.17