Family Law Titles
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(Court of Appeal; Ward, Jacob and Lloyd LJJ; 12 July 2006)  FLR (forthcoming)
The deceased's widow had been living with the deceased and their children in the family home, which was owned by the deceased and his son by a former marriage as joint tenants. After the death, the property passed by right of survivorship to the joint tenant son, who sought possession of the property. The judge rejected the widow's claim to a beneficial interest in the property. When considering the widow's later claim for family provision under s 9 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 the judge said that if he had been able to do so, he would have awarded the widow a half-share in the property, but that he could only include the deceased's severable share of property in the estate at its value immediately before the death, and on that basis he could award the widow only £20,000.
Section 9 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 was to be construed as enabling the court to make reasonable financial provision for a surviving spouse by ordering the transfer to her of her deceased husband's half share in the family home as beneficial joint tenant. Section 9 did not require valuation; the court could take the proportionate share of the property which would have belonged to the deceased if there had been severance of joint ownership and treat that proportion of the property as the share of the property which the court was empowered to treat as part of the estate.
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