Mistress and wife at blows over will
19 January 2018
A businessman’s mistress is in a court battle with her lover’s widow after their love child was left out of his £2.5m will. Melissa Proles argues that her four-year-old daughter should be looked after by Indian businessman Baldev Kohli’s estate.
Mr Kohli passed away in 2015. He left his £2.5m fortune to his widow, who lives in India.
However, during the course of his marriage, Mr Kohli had a brief relationship with Miss Proles after meeting at Weybridge’s exclusive St George’s Tennis Club. Miss Proles told the court that he proposed to her soon after they met and that they lived together in London until she moved out six months before the birth of their daughter in 2013.
Mr Kohli made no provision for the daughter he had with Miss Proles in his will.
What is the daughter’s claim?
Miss Proles is advancing a claim on behalf of her daughter under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act) and asking the court to make an award from Mr Kohli’s estate for her maintenance and needs.
However, in order to advance a 1975 Act claim Miss Proles must show that Mr Kohli was domiciled in the UK before he died in priority to his his domicile of origin, India.
In order to successfully argue the point, Miss Proles must prove that Mr Kohli deliberately and unequivocally abandoned his domicile of origin in favour of the UK. In opposition to Miss Prole’s position Mrs Kohli has argued that her husband remained loyal to his Indian roots and continued to provide for his family in India throughout his time in the UK. She also stated that Mr Kohli made a conscious decision to ‘go home to India’ shortly before he died
Mrs Kohli has also argued that Mr Kohli doubted if he was indeed the father of the young girl and accordingly wanted to leave. Mrs Kohli vehemently denies being estranged from her husband; she spent time with him in the UK and was by his side during his treatment for cancer. She was clear that when he returned to India in 2015, ‘he never intended to come back’ to the UK.
To the contrary Miss Proles has argued that Mr Kohli put strong roots down in the UK and ‘considered himself separated from his wife from 2010 onwards.’ For example, Mr Kohli owned a portfolio of properties within the London area as well as setting up two Indian restaurants. He had also been a member of the Tennis club where they met for 5 years prior to his death. Furthermore, Mr Kohli had previously broken with his Sikh tradition by cutting his hair and abandoning his turban.
The court must decide, on the basis of the evidence, where Mr Kohli was domiciled at the date of his death and accordingly whether a claim under the 1975 Act can be advanced.
In some cases, professionals can forget about the requirement for the deceased to be domiciled in the UK. If the deceased was not domiciled in the UK then you are prevented from bringing a claim under the 1975 Act. Accordingly you would need to pursue a claim under the law of the domiciled country.
If you have any questions about advancing a claim under the 1975 Act please contact Bernadette Baker (Head of Contentious Trust and Probate) on 01603 756402. Law covered as at January 2018.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at January 2018.