Being financially dependent on someone when they are alive, even if you are not named as a beneficiary in the deceased’s Will, can mean you could still be awarded something from the deceased’s estate. This has been made even more clear thanks to a recent settlement agreement between Kenny Goss, a former partner of George Michael, and the trustees of the late singer’s estate.
Often, financial dependency raises its head when couples are unmarried, or married but separated or divorced, and one party pays maintenance to the other, however commonly the words written in a Will are taken as gospel and are often left unchallenged. However, as is the case with Kenny Goss, it’s possible to make a claim against the deceased’s estate even though you may have been omitted from their Will.
"What followed was an ongoing legal
battle between Goss and the Trustees until now"
After George Michael’s death, Kenny Goss issued a lawsuit seeking ‘reasonable financial provision’ from George Michael’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, stating that he was ‘wholly maintained’ by George prior to his death on Christmas Day in 2016. What followed was an ongoing legal battle between Goss and the Trustees until now.
Now that terms have been agreed, Judge Master Kaye has made a Tomlin Order which effectively ends the ongoing court action between Kenny and the Trustees.
Whether Michael intended on providing financial provision for Goss is unknown. The omission from his Will would suggest that he had no intention of leaving anything to Goss, but he has now received something.
"If you leave someone out of your Will,
then be sure to make it clear why"
There were also questions over the validity of Michael’s Will, which was re-written in 2013, two years after Michael and Goss split, with Goss questioning Michael’s state of mind at that time, but that is a separate legal claim and it is not necessary for there to be any concerns over the validity of a Will to succeed in a claim for financial provision.
All of this is very A-list and the sums of money being argued over are for many incomprehensible, but the moral is the same. If you wish to leave something to someone after you die, then be sure to make it clear in your Will. If you leave someone out of your Will, then be sure to make it clear why, but that does not preclude that person from seeking financial provision if they are in financial need. If you feel you have been wrongly left out of a Will then you have the right to ask the Court for financial provision. Either way, it’s strongly advised that you seek legal help and advice on the matter.
Here at Thornton Jones, we have a wealth of experience in Will writing and challenging the contents of a deceased’s Will, or claiming financial provision in certain circumstances. We are only a phone call away to ensuring your matter is professionally and sensitively dealt with.
If you want to discuss either making a Will or updating an existing Will, or challenging a Will then please call us at any of our offices and we will be very happy to help.
Call our Wakefield office on 01924 290 029
Call our Garforth office on 0113 246 4423
Call our Ossett office on 01924 586 466
Call our Sherburn in Elmet office on 01977 350 500