A British mistress is seeking a portion of the £2.5 million estate of a deceased Indian businessman with whom she had a child.
Melissa Proles met Baldev Kohli at St George’s Tennis Club in Weybridge before having his daughter in March 2013. Ms Proles has claimed that Mr Kohli was planning to marry her before he returned to India following a cancer diagnosis in 2014 and where he died in late 2015, leaving his entire fortune to his wife of 35 years.
Ms Proles has now taken the dispute to the High Court in order to secure a “reasonable provision” for the child. Ms Proles' barrister, Julia Beer told the High Court Mr Kohli “wanted to honour his parental responsibilities, and to care for [the girl] and see her.”
However, the court also heard from Mr Kohli’s widow’s barrister, Teresa Rosen Peacocke, who said Mr Kohli had “expressed doubts and disappointment about his relationship with Melissa, and doubted his paternity of [the girl],”
Paula Myers, national head of will, trust and estate disputes at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, said that the case was unusual in that it has gone to trial.
“Most cases settle before they reach this stage, and it is noteworthy that the wife has fought the claim, but sometimes the conflict between who receives what allocation of money – if at all – requires litigation because two parties simply cannot agree on an outcome,” Ms Myers said.
Ms Myers added that the decision by Mr Kohli to go back to India before he died added a complex factor to the matter with Ms Proles’ legal team arguing that Mr Kohli was “domiciled “in the UK when he died.
“You can only bring an Inheritance Act claim if the deceased died in the UK or was domiciled in the UK – as Mr Kohli died in India, the issue of domicile has been raised as it further complicates the case,” Ms Myers commented.
“Although it is stated in the press that Mr Kohli doubted his paternity of the child he shared with Ms Proles, there is a legal responsibility for a parent to provide for a young child and always a moral obligation. If Ms Proles can establish that maintenance was taking place before Mr Kohli’s death – and there is evidence to suggest the child was receiving gifts and money in her infancy – then her claim has a better chance of succeeding.”
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