Family Law Titles
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(Court of Appeal; Wall P, Arden and Black LJJ; 31 March 2011)
The daughter lived in modest circumstances with 5 children in rented accommodation and was in receipt of housing and council tax benefit. The mother left net estate of £486,000 to charities. The district judge found the mother had failed to make reasonable provision for daughter and awarded her £50,000. Both the daughter and the charities appealed. King J allowed the charities' cross-appeal concluding that the district judge had been wrong to view the mother's exclusion of her daughter from her will as unreasonable on the basis that the mother's estrangement from the daughter was unreasonable.
The Court of Appeal allowed the mother's appeal. The district judge had been entitled to find that the mother's failure to make provision for the daughter was unreasonable. Whether or not the deceased's dispositions make reasonable financial provision for the plaintiff under the Act is very much a matter for the first instance tribunal and the value judgment of the district judge was not to be disturbed unless the conclusion he had reached was plainly wrong. The district judge had not asked the wrong question, but had, rightly, focused on whether the result was unreasonable.
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