Harlow v National Westminster Bank Plc and Others; in re Jennings Dec: CA 13 Dec 1993

The adult non-dependent son of the deceased claimed provision from his father’s estate. He had been separated from his father since being a young child, and had received almost nothing. He was a married adult son living with his family in comfortable circumstances, on a good income from two businesses.
Held: The claim failed. A past lack of maintenance could not to be relied on for claims from estates under the Act. The dependency on the deceased for a claimant based upon having been dependent upon the deceased must immediately precede the death. For such a claim there must shown be some special circumstance, perhaps a moral obligation of the deceased towards him, before the first question can be determined in his favour.
As to Re Coventry: ‘It was established by the decisions of Oliver J and this court in re Coventry decd. that, on an application by an adult son of the deceased who is able to earn, and earns, his own living there must be some special circumstance, typically a moral obligation of the deceased towards him, before the first question can be determined in his favour. Although the decisions were in terms confined to the case of a son, the principle of them is applicable no less to the case of a daughter and, with developments in the structure of society, instances of its application in such cases may become more common. In that case Oliver J was of the opinion that financial provision was reasonably required for the applicant’s maintenance. But his application failed because the deceased owed him no moral or other obligation and no other special circumstance was shown.’


Lord Justice Nourse, Lord Justice Henry And Sir John May


Gazette 16-Feb-1994, Times 03-Jan-1994, [1994] Ch 286, [1994] 3 WLR 67, [1994] 3 All ER 27, [1993] EWCA Civ 10




Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 3(1)(d)


England and Wales


ExplainedIn re Coventry dec’d ChD 2-Jan-1979
The court set out the general approach to applications under the 1975 Act: ‘these matters have to be considered at two stages – first in determining the reasonableness of such provision (if any) as has been made by the deceased for the applicant’s . .
CitedRe Dennis deceased ChD 1981
The courts have declined to define the word ‘maintenance’ closely. ‘Maintenance’ connotes only those payments which will directly or indirectly enable the applicant in the future to discharge the cost of his daily living at whatever standard of . .
CitedIn Re Coventry (deceased) CA 3-Jan-1979
The deceased’s adult son sought provision from the intestate estate. The sole beneficiary under the rules was the plaintiff’s mother. The estate was modest; the intestate’s interest in his house (he had been living there with the plaintiff). The . .
CitedRe Callaghan, deceased 1984
An adult stepson of the deceased, who had been treated as a child of the family, was awarded a lump sum of andpound;15,000 to enable him and his wife to avoid the burden of taking on a mortgage of andpound;13,000 on the purchase of their council . .

Cited by:

CitedIlott v The Blue Cross and Others SC 15-Mar-2017
What is reasonable provision for daughter
The deceased had left her estate in her will to several animal charities. The claimant, her daughter, had been estranged from her mother for many years, and sought reasonable provision from her estate under the 1975 Act. The district judge had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Wills and Probate

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.81244