The exhumation of Salvador Dali has illustrated the extremes that individuals may resort to when trying to establish an inheritance claim.
This is the view taken by the Will, Trust, and Estate Disputes Team at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth. They claimed that the case highlights the lengths people are going to when it comes to claiming on an estate, with some disputes lasting several decades before they reach a conclusion.
The body of the artist was exhumed last week, when his alleged daughter obtained a court order in an attempt to prove that Dali was indeed her father. This would allow her to be recognised as the legal heir, and therefore able to make a claim against the estate.
If the claim is successful, Abel could be entitled to up to a quarter of her father’s estate.
The case is reflective of the growing number of inheritance claims which are being made across the UK. With many from disgruntled relatives who believe they were entitled to a portion of an estate, figures from the Royal Court of Justice indicated an annual growth of 42 claims in 2016.
Commenting on the case was Paula Myers. The National Head of the firm’s Will, Trust, and Estate Disputes team stated: While the exhumation of a body to establish a claim is unusual, long legal battles are not unheard of. Whilst most cases are resolved quickly and at reasonable cost, it is impossible to predict the behaviour of an opponent and therefore some litigants find themselves engaged in a dispute for the long-haul. If the case is contentious enough or if it involves a unique point of law, it can pass through several courts and take years to pass down a final judgment.
“The difficulty for Ms Abel is that even if she is proven to be related to Dali, she is likely to have to embark on a further dispute with the Foundation and the Spanish state, to which he left his works.”