Estranged daughter awarded £30k from father’s estate

Will, pen and bookletA county court has awarded a woman £30,000 from her late father’s estate, despite his wish to disinherit all three of his children. The judgment, which centred on reasonable financial provision for estranged adult offspring, is the first of its kind since the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Ilott in March this year.

Leeds County Court made the award to Elana Nahajec from her father, Stanley Nahajec’s, £240,000 estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Mr Nahajec, who had left a letter explicitly stating that he wished to disinherit his children, bequeathed his entire estate to his friend Stephen Fowle. Mark Nahajec, a half-sibling of Elena, made a claim under the act that was settled for £22,000. Mr Fowle, who reportedly had already spent the entire £240,000 inheritance, had to borrow money to settle Mark Nahajec’s claim.

After the Ilott ruling, it was thought such claims from estranged adult offspring were likely to fail or yield significantly reduced awards. However, in this case, crucially perhaps, the estrangement was sustained by the deceased despite his daughter’s attempts to rekindle the relationship.

In addition, the claim succeeded in part because the daughter planned to train as a veterinary nurse. The judge noted: “£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.”

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