Court orders sisters to pay £325,000 to dead father’s partner
Two sisters have been ordered to pay their dead father’s partner £325,000 from his estate, worth approximately £1m.
The court heard that James Redmond had made a will 20 years ago leaving everything to his two daughters.
However, since making the will he had formed a relationship with Carole Anne Taylor after meeting her at a dance. They lived together for seven years.
Following his death, his daughters, Jane Redmond and Lynn Leberknight, told Ms Taylor that she had to leave the flat she had shared with their father, so it could be sold.
Ms Taylor then began legal action to claim a share of Mr Redmond’s estate.
The sisters argued that Ms Taylor was one of their father’s many women and their relationship had not been exclusive, even though they lived together.
Ms Taylor told the court that she was the "lucky one" of his lady friends, because she was the only one invited to spend Christmas with his family. She added: "We were very much in love, we didn't need to be married. I was his partner and he was mine."
The court ruled in her favour.
Judge Hockman said that one of the sisters had even referred to Ms Taylor as “step-mother” in a letter, and hospital records showed that Mr Redmond had described her as his partner while he was receiving treatment.
He added: "I find it improbable in the extreme that Mr Redmond in the final months of his life, and in deteriorating health, chose to end a relationship which had for some years provided him with much intimacy and support, with a woman whom he clearly loved, and who equally clearly returned his affection.
"I am equally satisfied that Mr Redmond and Ms Taylor lived together as man and wife.
"Mr Redmond clearly had an obligation and responsibility towards Ms Taylor as well as towards his daughters, and his will, therefore, clearly failed to make reasonable financial provision."
The judge ordered that the sisters should pay Ms Taylor £325,000. However, £180,000 of that should be invested in a property where she could live. Her interest in that property would then revert to the sisters on her death.
Please contact Benedict Smith if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.