A widow whose husband left her nothing in his will has won a High Court battle for a share of his estate worth more than £1million.
Harbans Kaur was married to husband Karnail Singh for 66 years.
But when he died, he left everything to his two sons and nothing to his wife or four daughters, a judge said.
Mr Justice Peel heard Mr Singh, who died in 2021, “intended to leave his estate in the male line exclusively”.
He heard Ms Kaur value his estate at £1.9million gross but one of her sons put the value at £1.2million.
The judge, hearing that the family had run a clothing store, ruled that Ms. Kaur should receive 50% of the net value of the estate.
He said it was clear that no “reasonable accommodation” had been made for the widow, whose income consisted of government benefits of around £12,000.
Mr Judge Peel has set out details of his decision in a written judgment after examining evidence at a recent hearing in the High Court’s Family Division in London.
“The plaintiff and the deceased were married in 1955, so at the time of his death they had been married for approximately 66 years,” the judge said in his ruling.
“They had seven children, one of whom unfortunately passed away.”
He said evidence showed Ms Kaur had played a “full part” in the marriage, working in the family’s clothing store.
“By (a) will dated June 25, 2005, the estate was left equally to two of the children … the sons of the applicant and the deceased,” the judge said.
“The reason the will was drawn up in these terms, without the applicant and the other four siblings, was that the deceased wished to leave his estate exclusively in the male line.”
He added: “It seems to me that this is the clearest case, authorizing me to conclude that adequate care was not taken for the plaintiff. It is difficult to imagine how any other conclusion could be drawn.
“After a marriage of 66 years, to which she has made a full and equal contribution, and over the course of which her entire fortune has grown, she has next to nothing left.”
He said she should “receive 50% of the net value of the estate.”
Attorney Heledd Wyn, who works at the law firm of Shakespeare Martineau, said the ruling was meant to be a warning.
“This decision is a testament to the fact that people cannot simply be left out of wills, especially spouses who have contributed for many years,” she said.
“The court was very clear on the matter and ruled in the interests of fairness.”
She added: “The High Court’s decision should serve as a warning to anyone who is considering making hasty or unfair decisions about who should be deemed to be the beneficiaries of their estate.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/15/widow-wins-high-court-battle-after-husband-leaves-her-nothing-in-will-18291565/ Widow wins High Court battle after husband leaves her nothing in will