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The Inheritance Act: larger awards for surviving spouses?

By Miranda Allardice

17 May 2001

The recent House of Lords decision White v White [2000] 3 WLR 1571 which deals with ancillary relief claims, has repercussions for surviving spouses who make a claim pursuant to Section 1(1)(a) Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 “the Act”.

Cross fertilization between life and death provision

The Law Commission Report No 61 reporting in 1974, recommended that a surviving spouse should be entitled to reasonable financial provision, defined as; “such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the husband or wife to receive, whether or not that provision is required for his or her maintenance”.  The definition being designed to ensure that the surviving spouse received a “a just share” of the family assets.  There was concern that the surviving spouse would otherwise be a poor relation to those who choose to terminate their marriage in ...

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