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Financial Dependence Claims

Claims under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 can be made by certain categories of person. One thing that a claimant must show is that they were financially dependent on the deceased and therefore entitled to a payment from their estate. Mrs Bouette made a claim under the Act as a person who “immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained either wholly or partly by the deceased”. The deceased was the claimant’s daughter who was born with severe mental and physical disabilities caused by negligence during the birth. She received damages of £250,000 and her affairs were managed by the Court of Protection. The Court authorised the purchase of a property for the deceased and her mother to live in; Mrs Bouette provided 25% of the capital and her daughter 75%. When she died intestate at the age of just 14 the daughter’s share of the property along with approximately £35,000 passed to her parents in equal shares. The mother bought an application under the Act which the father attempted to strike out. On the first appeal the judge agreed with the father and stated that Mrs Bouette had not been maintained within the meaning of s.1(1)(e) because the daughter had not assumed responsibility for her mother under s.3 (4) of the Act. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision holding that the Court of Protection could have made provision for a person who, had the patient had full mental capacity, they would have felt a moral obligation towards.

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