Deputy Master Linwood has handed down judgment in Clarke v Allen and Smith  EWHC 1193 and 1194 (Ch). Following a 3-day trial, the judge has rescinded a transfer of a £1.38m matrimonial home from the deceased husband to his daughters, and granted his widow provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 of £731,000 plus a third of the remaining residue, plus an additional £81,000. The transfer was rescinded for various mistakes by the deceased, including one caused by his solicitors’ advice that the daughters would not be able to evict his wife following the transfer, when in fact they could do so and indeed later attempted to do so with the assistance of the same solicitors.
In reaching his decision on the Inheritance Act claim, the judge held that the special doctrine of adverse inferences for non-disclosure of assets applicable to matrimonial finance cases also applies to claims by spouses under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Having found that one of the daughters had financially abused the deceased by misappropriating an unknown amount (but at least £38,000) using a void power of attorney, the judge ordered that she forfeit £80,000 of her share in the residue to the widow.
Francis Ng appeared for the successful Claimant. The judgment can be found here.