Eastenders Highlights Potential Will Disputes

Archie's death sets the scene for potential estate disputes

29.01.2010

A leading South Yorkshire lawyer says the Eastenders storyline relating to the estate of Archie Mitchell highlights the potential claims that can arise on a person's estate after their death.

After Archie's death in the BBC soap, a vicious row broke out between various potential beneficiaries, each claiming their own rights to Archie's estate. His daughter, Roxy, was named as the main beneficiary of the estate, but others may also have rights to claim.

Adam Draper, from the specialist contentious probate team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, says the storyline from Eastenders highlights the potentially explosive arguments which can emerge over a person's estate.

Draper said: "A person can choose to leave their estate to who they wish, but they must be aware that certain people may have a claim, for financial provision, from their estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

"Spouses and civil partners, former spouses and former civil partners who have not remarried, children, and cohabiters (on the basis that they have been living with the deceased for the period of two years prior to the death) and any person who was being maintained by the deceased immediately before the death could benefit from the Inheritance Act.

"Roxy has been left the majority of the estate, but there are various other people who would be eligible to make a claim. His other children, Ronnie and Danny, his wife Peggy and his estranged wife Glenda may have a claim as relatives, together with Janine, Bill and Jay as Archie was financially maintaining them prior to his death."

In claims under the Inheritance Act the Court considers a number factors when deciding whether a claimant should be provided for from the estate, including the financial circumstances of all the interested parties, the value of the estate, the obligations and responsibilities the deceased had towards the various parties, any physical and mental disability any of the parties have and any other relevant matters, including the conduct of the parties.