Careless whisper or careless Will? George Michael’s ex wins pay-out
George Michael's former lover has won a share of the pop star's fortune after successfully claiming he was wrongly left out of the singer's Will.
After a long legal battle, Kenny Goss has reportedly reached a confidential settlement with the trustees of George Michael's £97 million estate including his sister, Panayiota Panayiotue.
Can you still claim if you are left out of a Will?
In some circumstances, yes.
Kenny Goss and George Michael were a couple from 1996 to 2009 but are said to have remained close after they broke up.
According to Kenny, the singer paid him a generous allowance during their time together and continued to support him in the years that followed.
On this basis, Kenny brought a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 stating that he was 'wholly maintained' by the singer prior to his death on Christmas Day 2016 and should receive a financial pay-out.
So, even though George Michael's Will suggests he had no intention of leaving anything to his ex, Kenny Goss has now received something.
How do you make sure your Will is clear?
The moral of this story is that if you want to leave something to someone after you die, the safest way to do this is to be crystal clear on the details in your Will.
And if you want to leave someone out of your Will, then be clear on the reasons why on this point too. Remember though, this does not stop someone from seeking financial provision from your estate later if they are eligible to do so.
How do I claim financial provision from a Will?
If you are concerned someone close to you has died without making adequate provision for you in their Will, or if they have died without making a Will and no provision is made for you under the rules of intestacy, you may be able to bring a claim against their estate.
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, the same legislation used by Kenny Goss's legal team, allows certain categories of people to bring a claim against an estate where reasonable financial provision has not been made for them.
See if you fall into one of these categories by reading our recent article on this topic here.
Why are inheritance disputes on the rise?
This case is just one of an increasing number of inheritance disputes now being witnessed in the UK.
In 2019, the total contested Will cases being heard at the High Court reached an all-time high and this is just the tip of the iceberg as most disputes are either settled or abandoned before they get to court.
The rise in contested probate cases is expected to continue as the economic effects of Covid-19 are added to the financial pressures piling up on families.
For help and advice about bringing a claim, please contact Wards Solicitors' acclaimed Contentious Trusts and Probate team, recommended in the independent Legal 500 Guide for 2021. You can read our listing here.
It's important to take legal advice as soon as possible as strict time limits apply.
And to make sure your Will is as robust, clear and secure from challenge as possible, please contact our Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team.