sikh’s widow wins UK legal battle for ‘fair’ share of husband’s property
PTI Updated: Feb 17, 2023 16:00 IST London, Feb 17 (PTI) An 83-year-old British Sikh widow has won a “fair” share of her late husband’s 50 per cent estate, worth 1.2 million pounds, after winning a legal battle at the London High Court. He died a year ago, leaving it all in his will to their two sons.
Judge Robert Peel concluded in a judgment this week that he was satisfied Karnail Singh had not provided reasonably for his 66-year-old wife Harbans Kaur despite her “full and equal contribution” to the marriage and the family’s previous clothing business. .
According to court documents, one of the will’s beneficiary sons did not contest his mother’s claim, but the second son did not participate in the proceedings.
“I am satisfied that a) the deceased’s estate did not make reasonable provision for C [claimant Harbans Kaur]; b) C should receive 50 per cent of the net value of the estate, and the transfer of the estate affected by the will would vary accordingly,” concluded Justice Peel.
He also ordered that £20,000 be “immediately paid to the claimant” from the estate, and that his legal costs be deducted from the total from the estate by way of money made by the final distribution to him. Estate before equitable division.
“After 66 years of marriage, she made full and equal contribution and when all the assets were accumulated, she was left with nothing,” said the judgment handed down on Tuesday.
“She did not pursue a case which sometimes progressed in financial redressal proceedings to get more than 50 per cent share to meet her needs. Her intention was to buy a modest property near her daughter,” the judge noted.
The ruling follows a hearing in the High Court’s Family Division earlier this month which found that Karnail Singh died in August 2021 and left the estate to his two sons in equal shares under a will dated June 2005.
The reason why his wife and their four daughters were excluded in the will was because Singh wanted to leave his estate “below the male line”.
As a result, Kaur’s income includes taxpayer-funded state benefits of under £12,000 a year and she has very few assets, the court was told.
He suffers from several medical conditions and is registered as a disabled person.
When the husband died, she also left the family, as one of the sons moved in, where relations were very strained.
He currently lives with his daughter and wants to have enough funds to buy a place nearby.
While one of his sons did not contest the claim, the judgment noted that the second son did not participate, “seeing the injustice being done to his mother and leaving him unconditionally”.
The judge noted that Kaur was “old and destitute” and therefore it was unfair to continue the case without a clear justification for doing so.
“I find this claim unjustified. The facts do not appear to be in dispute. It would not be disproportionate in the circumstances to wait for further clarification of the value of the estate pending a final decision on the claim,” the judge concluded.