Solicitors have again warned on the importance of updating wills after a man’s estate was challenged by his young children – in an unusual case surrounding reasonable provision for infants.
In Ubbi v Ubbi, the court awarded Bianca Maria Corrado £386,000 of the late Malkiat Singh Ubbi’s £3.5m estate. Carrado was appearing as a litigation friend on behalf of her children aged three and six months, who are named in the judgment.
The judge, Master Karen Shuman, said there is ‘little specific guidance’ for claims made by infants, and that the case is likely to be used as future guidance for similar Inheritance Act claims in the future.
Corrado had a long-term affair with Ubbi, who was described by Shuman as leading a ‘double life’. Ubbi, who was the father of the two claimants, was in the process of getting a divorce from his wife when he died in 2015. However, his will had not provided for the children, prompting Corrado to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act.
Nazia Nawaz, senior associate at the will, trust and estates team at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, said it can be costly to let your will languish with outdated information. ‘It’s vital to consider the consequences of staying married to someone when the relationship has broken down irretrievably, particularly if you then have a second family. It’s unusual to have infant children as claimants in an Inheritance Act dispute, but it was necessary here to provide for their future,’ she said.
James Beresford, partner in the commercial advisory and private wealth team at BLM, said the case highlights a lack of awareness and ‘wills apathy’ among the general public. ‘Any time there is a significant change in circumstances, it is important that a will reflects this. Now, the blue touch paper has been lit but these types of issue can be avoided,’ he added.
Nawaz added: ‘Mr Ubbi may have wanted his children to receive more from the estate had he set out a provision for them in his will. This case also goes to show that while updating a will may seem costly and time-consuming from the outset, the fallout of leaving heirs and second families unaccounted for is much worse.’
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