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Court of Appeal holds that widow can bring claim 17 months out of time

Date:5 SEP 2019

In February of this year Mr Justice Mostyn’s first instance decision in Cowan v Foreman [2019] EWHC 349 (Fam) sent waves through the world of contentious trust and probate practitioners when he refused to grant Mrs Cowan permission to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (‘the 1975 Act’) for reasonable financial provision from her late husband’s estate out of time. He also sparked concern for practitioners when he suggested that parties should stop using standstill agreements as a means of delaying the issue of proceedings with immediate effect.

This is not the first time that the Cowan family have been in the Court of Appeal. The deceased is Michael Cowan aka the inventor of dustbin bags who family practitioners will no doubt remember from his divorce from his first wife which reached the Court of Appeal in 2001.

The facts

Mrs Cowan is the deceased’s second wife. They had enjoyed a long relationship of over 25 years marrying shortly before Mr Cowan’s death. However aside from gifts of his personal chattels the deceased did not make any outright financial...

Read the full article here.