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Wham! and will disputes

View profile for Philippa  Rowley
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You may well be asking yourself how one gets from the hit eighties duo to The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Following George Michael’s death in December 2016 it was revealed that his Will left the majority of his £97.6 million estate to be distributed between his sisters and father. Smaller legacies were left to other relatives and friends. Notably his ex-partner of 15 years, Mr Kenny Goss, was left out of the Will.

Mr Goss issued a claim against the estate under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 despite having split up with the singer years before his death. Mr Goss claimed that he was being financially maintained by George at the time of his death and, as a result, he fell within the list of persons entitled to bring a claim under section 1 of the Act.

Specifically section 1(e) provides that any person who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained by the deceased may apply to the court. Any such application would be on the basis that the distribution of the deceased’s estate (whether under a Will or in accordance with the intestacy rules) fails to make reasonable financial provision for the claimant.

Mr Goss had claimed that George Michael paid him a generous monthly allowance before his death and that the estate should therefore pay him the sum of £15,000 a month by way of reasonable financial provision. 

A settlement has recently been achieved between Mr Goss and the executors of Michael’s estate, the exact terms of which are to remain secret.

Whilst the sums of money at issue in this case are astronomical to most people, the point remains that any person who was maintained by the deceased in any capacity before their death can seek to bring a claim against the estate for that financial provision to continue.

Examples of where these claims commonly occur include where there is financial dependency between unmarried partners or even friends.

If you feel you have been left out of a Will unfairly or that the distribution of an estate under the intestacy rules is unreasonable please get in touch with one of our team. Email Philippa Rowley or call our Contested Probate team on 0800 118 1500 to find out how we can help you. Or alternatively click here for more information.