Estate Disputes In Spotlight As King’s ‘Secret Wife’ Wins Court Battle

Legal Experts React After High Court Ruling


Specialist estate dispute lawyers have described a High Court ruling which will see the ‘secret wife’ of a late Saudi king get access to a share of his fortune as another high-profile example of the issues which can emerge when loved ones pass away.

Janan Harb will receive more than £15 million and the value of two London properties after the High Court ruled she should receive funds from the state of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who she married in secret in 1960.

The case related to Ms Harb’s claim that she had met the king’s son two years prior to his death, where he stated she would receive funds in line with her father’s promise that she would receive life-long support. The prince has since denied the claim.

Following a decade-long legal battle, Judge Mr Justice Peter Smith said the claim that the meeting took place was credible.

It is now thought the case could go to the Court of Appeal.

Irwin Mitchell’s Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team specialise in providing advice and support to those who feel they have not received the inheritance to which they are entitled following the death of a loved one.

Expert Opinion
“This case is another high-profile example of the difficulties that can emerge if clear instructions regarding how an estate should be handled are not in place.

“However, it is important to remember that while cases involving vast sums of money often hit the headlines, these issues can affect people from across society. We act in many cases where people from all walks of life are faced with similar issues in trying to access what they are entitled to.

“Anyone with concerns regarding such issues – whether it is financial support or property that was promised to them – should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to consider their options.

“In addition, we would urge that this type of case serves as an important reminder that people should put a comprehensive will in place which outlines exactly how their assets should be treated when they pass away. Failing to do so can leave family and friends facing incredibly difficult legal battles.”
Gavin Faber, Partner