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FAMILY PROVISION: Garland v Morris [2007] EWHC 2 (Ch)

Date:11 JAN 2007

(Chancery Division; Michael Furness QC sitting as a deputy High Court judge; 11 January 2007)

After the separation of the parents, one of the adult daughters remained in close contact with the mother but not the father; the other remained in close contact with the father. The mother left her entire estate to the daughter who had remained close to her; subsequently, the father left his entire estate to the daughter who had continued to see him. The daughter who had stayed close to the mother, whose financial circumstances were significantly more difficult than those of the daughter who had stayed close to the father, claimed under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act), on the basis that the father had failed to make reasonable financial provision for her.

While moral obligation was not a necessary precondition to a claim under the 1975 Act, this case demonstrated the importance in practice of the moral obligation requirement. The father had assumed a responsibility towards the daughter who had remained in contact with him; he had had nothing to do with the claimant daughter, who had made no effort to contact the father for many years, and who had inherited from the mother. The father had been entitled to conclude that the claimant daughter no longer had any reasonable claim on his bounty.